Prime minister Xavier Bettel was among EU leaders urging common strategy at a marathon video-conference on Thursday evening.
The European Union was pulled back from the brink of a major rupture over response to the coronavirus crisis late on Thursday night. A video-conference of the 26 heads of state, European Council president Charles Michel and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen lasted over five hours, which was three hours longer than scheduled. As Politico reports, a disagreement on so-called “corona bonds” to help finance response to the pandemic came close to causing a serious breakdown in relationships between member states.
Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel (DP) was among those who argued in favour of a common debt issuance instrument. “No country should be left alone in the face of the consequences of the covid-19 crisis,” he said. “We can and must do more, especially as member states of this union, and we must collectively demonstrate ambition and solidarity in order to find a coordinated response”.
In advance of the conference, Bettel was one of nine EU government leaders who co-signed a letter to that effect addressed to Michel.
In a summary of his speech issued by the government’s media service late on Thursday night, Bettel also noted that the restrictive measures introduced in some parts of the EU could have a serious--and perhaps irreparable--impact on the functioning of the EU, the single market and the Schengen area. “Cross-border traffic of frontier workers and goods is a lifeline for Luxembourg and many other member states,” he is quoted as saying. “Any measures introduced at the EU’s internal borders must at least ensure that border workers, citizens being repatriated, essential medical supplies and essential goods are able to transit freely.”