Following yesterday's conversation between President Conte and President von der Leyen and the extraordinary video-meeting of the European Council, President Conte and President von der Leyen held another new videoconference this afternoon.
They both agreed that:
the Coronavirus is a Global and European crisis that requires a strong coordinated European response and solidarity;
Italy is currently at the forefront in the battle to contain the diffusion of the virus in Europe and faces immediate health, social and economic consequences.
actions taken by every member state have an impact on the rest of the EU.
President von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the efforts undertaken by the Italian Government and recognized the social and economic burden the current crisis imposes to the population. They agreed that lessons have to be drawn by the experience matured in Italy to help guiding European policies.
President Conte welcomed the commitment of the President of the European Commission to act now, with adequate measures and without hesitation.
Both leaders exchanged views on outcomes of the EUCO teleconference of yesterday and on the guidelines, the Commission will adopt by the end of the week. These will concern in particular how to apply flexibility in the context of the Stability and Growth Pact and on the provision of State Aid.
In addition, both agreed on the importance of taking swift action in the following areas:
sharing of all relevant information concerning the diffusion of the virus and measures adopted;
establishing a dedicated team of scientist at the EU level that will help coordinate efforts and harmonize interventions;
reinforcing efforts on research;
coordinating the production and the distribution of medical equipment and pharmaceutical products as well as calling for any restrictive measure by Member States to be first discussed at the European level, so that vital supplies go where they are needed most, the internal market functions properly and any unjustified obstacle is avoided.
President Conte welcomed the positive attitude of the Commission and its intention to use all available instruments to address the economic consequences of the Coronavirus crisis. He also expressed appreciation for the availability of the Commission to examine Italian requests with an open and constructive approach.
The Commission confirmed that the flexibility embedded in Stability and Growth Pact will be fully used. Also the state-aid regime for exceptional circumstances will be applied.
The Commission has announced the establishment of a dedicated initiative for investment liquidity. Technical details concerning financing and general functioning of this initiative will be clarified by the end of this week.
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