Interview of Mário Centeno with Süddeutsche Zeitung, Le Figaro, La Repubblica, El Pais and Volkskrant: "We are going to propose a new package measures to defend the euro area and European Union. We have been working in three new backstops: for sovereigns, for businesses and for workers."
What can we expect from Tuesday’s Eurogroup?
We have to be as comprehensive as possible for the different sectors of our economy. We are working on an ESM credit line open to all countries of up to EUR 240 billion. It will be a new line of defence. Then, we have a proposal by the EIB for pan-European guarantee fund to increase its capacity to up to EUR 200 bn. The number and the details are not yet finalised. This is for EU businesses, and especially for small and medium enterprises. Additionally, the Commission presented on Thursday a EUR 100bn backstop for employment protection schemes. These thee measures represent a safety net of roughly a half trillion euros.
Presidents Conte, Macron and Sanchez often mention that the future of the euro is at stake. Are they creating unnecessary anxiety in the markets?
We always need to be careful when we describe the present situation and the design of measures. We spent 10 years preparing for the previous financial recession and nevertheless the response was slow, inaccurate and full of flaws, particularly at the beginning. This crisis was totally unexpected and it hit us with unparalleled severity. There is a lot at stake but we need to concentrate on the response, to continue our work. There are many risks and a huge uncertainty. We need to improve our communication as we improve our response to this crisis. We have been improving. The preparatory meetings for the next EG show we are more focused on solidarity and common solutions.
Will this package be enough?
The set of measures I mentioned comes on top of national measures. The national measures, which are fiscal measures, represent nearly 3 % of the EU GDP. In addition, you have liquidity support measures, which are already around 18 % of GDP. The ECB has implemented an unprecedented purchases program of EUR 870 billion. This is all in a scale never seen before. And our commitment will not stop here. We are ready to adjust our response, but these measures are appropriate to the immediate situation.
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