Mario Centeno, head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, will head up a video conference meeting of European Union officials Monday (March 16) in an attempt to assess how to steer the economy back on track amid the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported.
The meeting will take place via video to avoid meeting in person, which would carry with it a higher risk of transmitting the virus. Originally, the meeting was supposed to take place in person in Brussels. The initial agenda focused on eurozone members with a review of Greece, and afterward, a discussion among all 27 EU nations about the virus.
Centeno, who is Portugal’s finance minister, said in a tweet that it was of unprecedented importance for a solution to arise as soon as possible. He said the meeting would be important for the general goals of containing the pandemic.
He said the countries would work together to “overcome fear and restart [our] economies.”
The discussions will likely include the plan by the European Commission, which will jumpstart finances for the parts of the European economy ravaged by the virus. The plan will also let EU nations run larger deficits, giving leeway to struggling business owners.
The EU is looking at funneling 37 billion euros ($41 billion) into the economy, a parachute for free-falling companies in the most danger. And, generally, more lax rules on payments would be enacted, officials said. Officials had already predicted for the last few months that the shortfalls from the virus would lead to a recession.
Many of the funds were already going toward poorer nations, but the redirection toward coronavirus-focused efforts in particular will have to be approved by EU governments and lawmakers, hopefully within the next two weeks, according to commission officials.
The coronavirus outbreak has now hit the U.S., and overseas, its effects are still being felt. Travel sales are at all-time lows, and the effects of those falling numbers will ripple across travel agencies, hotels and more.