BRUSSELS – European markets opened significantly lower last Friday, ignoring all the stimulus pledges by EU governments last week, as the deadly Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread across the continent, with Europe now accounting for one of the major regions of global infection.
“Britain’s FTSE 100 was plummeting more than five percent during early afternoon trading in London. Stock markets in Germany and France are down over three and four percent, respectively”, World News reported.
The market fall comes as EU leaders fail to come to an agreement over the economic response to the coronavirus pandemic. During a video conference summit last Thursday, the leaders of the 27-member bloc argued over how to pull their economies through the crisis, with Italy accusing other member states of having a timid response to the unprecedented economic shock.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has called for “extraordinary and exceptional measures” to help Europe’s battered economies. Along with France, Spain, and seven other Eurozone countries, Italy wants a “European recovery bond”, also known as ‘coronabonds’, EU-backed debt to lift member states out of recession and increase spending on healthcare.
The European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, criticized the EU member states for “looking out for themselves” during the early phases of the crisis.
“When Europe really needed an all-for-one spirit, too many initially gave an only-for-me response. And when Europe really needed to prove that this is not only a fair-weather union, too many initially refused to share their umbrella,” she told the European Parliament in Brussels last Thursday during a session to vote through emergency measures.
The overall number of deaths in Europe due to coronavirus is now in tens of thousands. Europe accounts for one of the major regions of global infection.