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Euro zone to work more on bailout fund, EIB tools to fight coronavirus

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers are likely to accelerate work next week on using their bailout fund ESM and the European Investment Bank (EIB) to counter the economic slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic, their chairman Mario Centeno said.

The ministers will hold a teleconference on April 7 to discuss support against the epidemic, as requested by EU leaders last week, after a row over whether the euro zone should jointly issue debt in response to the health crisis.

“I propose that we accelerate the work we started on the possible use of the ESM and EIB resources and instruments,” Centeno said in a letter to the ministers.

“We are also ready to discuss new proposals from the Commission. Finally, I am ready to put to the discussion concrete, well-justified, effective proposals, which could help us step up our response,” he said.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski)