Fiscal breaks for virus measures

Fiscal breaks for virus measures

Eurogroup chief Mario Centeno on Wednesday announced the possibility of exceptions to the strict fiscal rules guiding the eurozone to allow emergency measures for containing the spread and impact of the new coronavirus.

The Portuguese official said that the Stability Pact allows for flexibility in cases of such unusual incidents that are beyond the control of governments. However, the extraordinary meeting via conference call of the finance ministers of the entire European Union put the matter up for reassessment at the March 16 Eurogroup.

If such a decision is made, Greece and its fellow eurozone countries will have some additional fiscal space to carry out expenditures to tackle healthcare needs and support enterprises hurt by the epidemic, provided the measures are closely related to the coronavirus and fiscal stability is not threatened.

Greek Finance Ministry sources said on Wednesday that Athens is in favor of an proactive stance by the EU on this matter, but only based on the existing rules and in the context of common European action, as Greece does not want to risk coming under criticism for failing to meet its obligations.

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