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The European Union needs to agree on additional coronavirus-related stimulus “in the coming months,” a top EU official told CNBC Thursday, after a ground-breaking plan to help the region was proposed Wednesday.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, proposed to raise 750 billion euros ($826 billion) in public markets and distribute that money in the form of grants and loans to the 27 EU countries. However, some nations are reluctant to approve the idea as it would mark the first time the EU tapped financial markets together on such a large scale.
The proposal needs to be agreed upon by EU members before it can be implemented.
“We cannot delay (an agreement),” Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president of the European Commission, told CNBC in an exclusive interview.
“We need an agreement already in the coming months.”
The coronavirus has hit Europe’s economy hard. The European Central Bank, in charge of monetary policy across 19 EU countries, forecasts a 15% contraction in GDP (gross domestic product) in the second quarter alone. Meanwhile, the European Commission said in early May that the 27 EU countries together could contract by 7.4% this year.
Speaking to CNBC, Dombrovskis said the additional coronavirus stimulus was not yet pre-allocated but Italy, Spain, France, Poland and Germany are expected to receive “substantial amounts of money.”
“But I would say no country is left behind in this proposal, so what we are concentrating is on member states’ ability to react to the crisis, whether it is due to the higher debt levels (or) if ability is restricted due to the overall lower level of economic development and incomes,” Dombrovskis said.
“So all those factors are taken into account so the money is focused indeed on countries that need it the most.”