March 18, 2020 / 10:21 AM / 18 days ago

German FinMin: Mustn't interpret EU budget rules too narrowly for Italy

BERLIN, March 18 (Reuters) - Italy needs to spend billions to support its economy from the impact of the coronavirus and its efforts must not fail due to an excessively narrow interpretation of European budget rules, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told Die Zeit newspaper.

“We need solidarity in Europe,” Scholz said. “A country like Italy must now spend billions to support its economy. This must not be allowed to fail because of an overly narrow interpretation of the rules.”

Scholz reiterated his view that it is too soon to use the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to provide aid to further euro zone countries due to the coronavirus, but added that if events change course “we will live up to our responsibility.” (Writing by Paul Carrel Editing by Michelle Martin)

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