Coronavirus Crisis at the European Union
Financial Times published an article written by Ana Botin (Santander Executive Chairman) in which she states that the EU now faces a moment of truth. “The test is very simple: do all member states believe that we are “in this together”?”
She recognizes the actions taken by the European Central Bank, regulators and the European Commission, which “have implemented important and timely measures to ensure that there is ample liquidity across the EU by buying public and private debt.”
However, she also points out that unilateral and uncoordinated responses have forgotten a fundamental principle of the European Union: “a shared sense that we are stronger by acting together has contributed to the advancement of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights. Our achievements rest on that principle”.
Ana Botín encourages EU finance ministers to reach an agreement on a common plan at European level so as not to jeopardize the European project: “Failure to act together now may well undermine the public’s faith in that approach, and with it all that has been achieved”
She highlights that banks are part of the solution in this crisis:” We have conserved capital precisely for systemic shocks like this. And Santander has led the way in cutting senior executives’ compensation and scrapping dividend policy. This will give us even more firepower. But banks cannot do it alone.”
According to Ana Botín it is the time to agree on a common financing instrument at European level that will allows us to keep thinking about the future and prosperity of Europe “If not a coronabond, maybe it is time to consider a common bond, backed by the EU”.