European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the proposal of bloc-wide unemployment scheme to assist member countries hit by coronavirus outbreak. Von der Leyen said that the European Union can mobilise 100 billion euros to aid the strained national unemployment schemes to mitigate the effects of the recession.
Addressing a press conference on April 2, the EU chief said that the scheme would keep people in work and will enable companies to return to the market with renewed vigour. She added that the commission will provide loan to those member states that need them to strengthen their short-time work schemes.
Meanwhile, UN agencies are scrambling to help low- and middle-income countries to sustain the recession and avoid an economic collapse in the face of the pandemic. World Health Organisation (WHO) chief for debt relief for developing countries as they struggle to implement impactful social welfare programs.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus said that lockdowns and stay-at-home orders can help limit the spread of the virus but such measures can have unintended consequences for the poorest and most vulnerable people. He added that he has called on governments to put in place social welfare measures to ensure vulnerable people have food and other life essentials during this crisis.
Earlier, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) called for an urgent $2.5 trillion aid package to help developing countries avoid worst-case scenarios due to the coronavirus pandemic. It asked for debt jubilee for distressed economies and suggested to use German debt relief, administered after World War II, as a benchmark.
Following the call, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres announced the establishment of a trust fund to support low-and middle-income countries to respond to the emergency and recover from the socio-economic shock from COVID-19 pandemic. The UN Secretary-General announced the new multi-partner Trust Fund for COVID-19 Response and Recovery while launching the report, on March 31, on the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.
(Image Credit: Twitter / @EU_Commission)