The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has called for the European Union to set up a new version of the Marshall Plan to stimulate the relaunch of the European economy after the coronavirus crisis.
The Marshall Plan, named after the US senator who proposed the idea, was a plan by the US government at the end of the Second World War to inject aid into the European continent to help it recover from the economic, material and psychological damage of the war.
Sánchez, whose wife, mother and father-in-law have tested positive for the virus, praised the EU initiatives already announced, but said they did not go far enough.
“Europe must establish a war economy and initiate resistance, reconstruction and economic recovery,” he said. “To do this, we must mobilise significant resources through a plan that we have called the new Marshall Plan. This requires the support of all EU member states.”
In his open letter to his EU counterparts, Sánchez writes:
“Europe is living through its deepest crisis since the Second World War. Our people are dying or fighting for their lives in hospitals that are overrun by a pandemic – a pandemic which is the biggest threat to our health care systems since the flu of 1918.
“Europe is now at war with an enemy of a totally different kind that the wars we have managed to avoid for the last 70 years: a war against an invisible enemy which threatens the very future of the European project.”
And he concludes: “The time to show solidarity is now upon us: to create a new mechanism of mutual debt guarantee, to set up a joint purchase of essential medical equipment, to develop a coordinated cybersecurity strategy and to work out an emergency plan to ensure the rapid and vigorous recovery of the continent.”
“Cracks between North and South should be avoided. Nobody is to be left to fend for themselves. These are particularly difficult times, which require bold decisions. Millions of Europeans believe in the Union’s project. We must not disappoint them. Let’s give them reasons to continue to trust us. It is now or never, because the future of Europe is at stake.”