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Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor said on Thursday that solidarity in Europe is more important than ever. Speaking to the German parliament, the Chancellor said: “The pandemic shows us how vulnerable Europe is.” “Therefore I want to stress to you that cohesion and solidarity in Europe were never as important as they are today.”
She continued to talk about “The medical and economic consequences of the crisis are deepening the imbalances in the European community.”
“We must not allow the economic prospects of the EU member states to drift apart as a result of the pandemic.”
It’s been rumoured that EU leaders will also gather in July in order to hold discussions about a financial rescue package.
Already, EU member states such as France and Germany introduced a €500 billion recovery fund.
It’s believed the grant would be handed out to regions and industries who had suffered the worst of the pandemic.
Also in May, the EU Commission put forward a €750 billion recovery plan, that would include €500 billion in grants in line with the Franco-German agreement.
However, this also sees additional support for countries such as Spain and Italy, who are both experiencing high levels of debt.
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Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Sweden have been reportedly concerned about the plan.
The leaders of those countries feel it is unfair to foot the bill for heavily indebted Mediterranean nations.
Germany, which is Europe’s largest economy, during the first quarter of the year saw its economy contract by 2.2 per cent.
This is largely down to the coronavirus pandemic impacting businesses and productivity.
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France also experienced its GDP decline by 5.8% in that period.
Italy shrank by 4.7% in the first three months of the year, with Spain’s GDP falling by 5.2% during that time.
Germany has also experienced a jump up in its reproduction rate.
On Sunday, it jumped to 2.88 from 1.79, which has led health authorities to say infections are rising above the level needed to contain the disease.
This rise could also lead to renewed restrictions, which in the long run will damage further Europe’s largest economy.
It will come as a major blow to Angela Merkel, who like many had hoped Germany had seen the worst of the pandemic and successfully managed to curb the spread.
In order to keep the virus under control, Germany is required to drop their reproduction rate below one.
The rate of 2.88, published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for public health, means that out of 100 people who contract the virus, a further 288 people will get infected.
Originally, Chancellor, Angela Merkel had hoped to keep lockdown measures in place for a bit longer, but growing pressure from politicians to reboot the economy meant she had to ease restrictions.
The 2.88 rate is a jump from 1.06 on Friday, based on RKI’s moving 4-day average data, which reflects infection rates one to two weeks ago.
Based on a 7-day average, infection rates have risen to 2.03, RKI said, adding that an accurate reading for long-term patterns will take a couple of days.
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