#Coronavirus – ‘Do we act together, or do we act alone?’ Paul Tang MEP

| March 23, 2020

EU Reporter spoke to Paul Tang MEP (S&D, NL) about the Dutch response to coronavirus. In the Netherlands there has been a voluntary lockdown, bars and restaurants are closed down and people are encouraged to stay at home though parks are busy, especially in the spring sunshine. Tang speculated that the Netherlands might have to look at a ban on contact similar to the one recently imposed in Germany, writes Catherine Feore.

Tang, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs says that each member state has its own ‘Bazooka’ but that the plans are broadly similar: giving credits and grants to companies, providing income support for and so on. He said the real question is what effect will this have on government debt, pointing to the rise in spreads for Italian government bonds. According to Tang, the real discussion will be on the European level: Do we act together, or do we act alone? 

Although the Eurogroup will meet tomorrow (24 March)Tang is not sure that it will be successful, but he said that it should enable countries to borrow in a way that allows them to fight the virus and the resulting damage. Tang said that the sharp economic downturn is the price we are willing to pay for our health. He added that governments will need to look at how to restart the economy, so that a temporary recession doesn’t turn into a prolonged downturn. But he is optimistic and says that there are opportunities, if we realize that we cannot nationalize policy and realize that we have to work together. Tang adds a small note of caution: “I’m optimistic, but it’s too soon to tell.” 



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