A one-trillion-euro recovery plan to get Europe back on its feet after the devastation wreaked by the Corona-virus pandemic was set to be unveiled Wednesday, as badly hit Spain started 10 days of national mourning for its thousands of dead.
The massive European proposal follows other unprecedented emergency measures introduced around the world to rescue economies shattered by the disease, which has claimed more than 350,000 lives with infections rapidly approaching 5.6 million.
Part of the money will be retrieved by a new EU-tax plan for companies with a turnover larger then 750.000 million euro’s. The 0.1% tax rate must generate at least one hundred billion euro.
While the virus continues to cause havoc in Latin America, Europe has slowly started reopening businesses as outbreaks on the continent to rebuild their economies.
European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen will deliver a one-trillion-euro proposal to the European Parliament, aiming to help the worst-affected countries using a mix of grants and loans.
That is expected to kick off tough negotiations, as backers try to win the support of some northern EU states that are opposed to paying out aid in grants to nations already under mountains of debt – such as hard-hit Italy and Spain.
The proposal comes as the continent – which has lost at least 172,000 people to Covid-19 – grapples with the human tragedy and economic destruction.
The Iberian nation and others hit particularly hard such as Italy, Germany, France and Britain have all started easing their lock downs, as people head to shops, sunbathe at beaches and run in parks after months of confinement.
Russia, meanwhile, said it had passed its peak of infections, promising to hold postponed World War II victory celebrations next month.
While desperate to kick start their economies, especially the tourism sector, most governments in Europe are also trying to move cautiously towards a reopen, afraid of a second wave of infections.
But while many Western nations were inching back towards some form of normality, the virus has continued its march in Latin America, which has outpaced Europe and the United States in the number of daily infections.
We are particularly concerned that the number of new cases reported last week in Brazil was the highest for a seven-day period, since the outbreak began,” said Carissa Etienne, director of the Washington-based Pan American Health Organization.
Both Peru and Chile are also reporting a high incidence, a sign that transmission is still accelerating in these countries.
The virus is also fueling a political crisis in Brazil, where right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the Covid-19 threat and lashed out at state governors who have asked people to stay at home.
The USA remains the hardest-hit nation in the world, and with its death toll approaching 100,000. Trump is keen for a quick turnaround with the US economy battered and tens of millions unemployed, and has pressured local and state leaders to ease lock downs.
Across the Pacific, Japan – the world’s third-largest economy – has already started a cautious rollback of virus restrictions, ending a state of emergency.
Japan’s funfairs slowly open, a group of park operators released joint guidelines on virus safety, including visitors wearing masks at all times.
Asia Times / ABC Flash Point Health News 2020.