PES backs ETUC call for emergency economic measures in response to COVID-19

20/03/2020

Sergei Stanishev and Luca Visentini

PES President Sergei Stanishev and General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation Luca Visentini pictured at a meeting at the PES Offices in Brussels

European institutions and governments must act rapidly to prevent an economic shock, this was the central message of a letter published today by the ETUC. The PES joins world-renowned economists and academics, trade unionists, former prime ministers, and a former European commissioner in backing the call for action.

PES President Sergei Stanishev added his signature to the letter, supporting measures to save people’s livelihoods and boost economic activity in Europe. The letter reads:

“We appeal to European Institutions and governments with a sense of urgency, our population is suffocating from the Corona COVID-19 virus, physically and economically….

“… We fear that the tools and funds put now on the table by governments and European Union institutions will not be enough. The full use of the flexibility of the Stability and Growth Pact will be like drops in the ocean, if not accompanied by additional measures.”

The letter calls for bold action now, including:

  • the immediate suspension of stock exchanges to limit damage following unprecedented falls recently;
  • a decrease in the European Central Bank’s marginal lending facility rate to zero percent or less to incentivise economic activity;
  • readiness at the European Central Bank to reload the ‘bazookas’ of the Outright Monetary Transactions and Quantitative Easing;
  • financial institutions to be prevented from making loans at positive interest rates to both European member states and small and medium sized businesses. The European Stability Mechanism must play a role in this regard;
  • the option of helicopter money from the European Central Bank should be seriously considered;
  • special measures to regulate price movements for vital products and housing.

Now is the time for Europe to act together and avoid descending into divisive nationalism - the virus does not stop at borders. We must act in solidarity, for the freedom of the people, and for our common good. Together we are stronger. 

Read the full letter.