March 25, 2020 / 4:25 PM / 10 days ago

Dutch finance minister: Too early in coronavirus crisis to tap ESM

AMSTERDAM, March 25 (Reuters) - The Dutch finance minister said on Wednesday it is too early in the unfolding economic crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak to draw on funds from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

In a debate with parliament’s finance commission, Wopke Hoekstra said “we still have a long way to go, a long road ahead”. He denied that Dutch opposition to an Italian call to allow ESM funds to be tapped unconditionally showed a “lack of solidarity” with other European countries.

“It is prudent not to say, ‘let’s just start there’ with the largest piece of ammunition that we still have in reserve,” Hoekstra said. “And that goes for all member states, that you shouldn’t do it so easily..., whether that member state comes specifically from the north, the south, the east or the west.” (Reporting by Toby Sterling Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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