Germany ready to mull post-virus stimulus package, but discussions at 'very early stage': source

Published March 24, 2020, 12:13 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Reuters

BERLIN – German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is ready to mull a post-virus stimulus package, but discussions within the government on the measures are still at “a very early stage”, a senior official with knowledge of the talks said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz attends the cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany February 19, 2020. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz attends the cabinet meeting in Berlin, Germany February 19, 2020. (REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/FILE PHOTO/MANILA BULLETIN)

“There are not yet any concrete proposals,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The government is now focusing on fighting the pandemic, protecting the health of the population and on implementing the government’s program to save jobs and companies in this crisis, the official added.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet on Monday agreed a package worth up to 750 billion euros ($814.43 billion) to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Europe’s largest economy, with the federal government aiming to take on new debt for the first time since 2013.

The Bundestag lower house of parliament is on Wednesday expected to discuss and pass the measures, including a debt-financed supplementary budget of 156 billion euros and a stabilization fund worth 600 billion euros for loans to struggling businesses and direct equity stakes in companies.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Tuesday that the aid package was just an initial step in tackling the coronavirus crisis.

Another source with knowledge of the deliberations said it was still too early to engage in detailed discussions about a stimulus package meant for a time when the coronavirus is contained and the economy shows signs of a recovery.

The second source added that no one could currently give a serious answer to questions about how long the pandemic would last and how great the economic damage would be.

 
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