Emmanuel Macron warns EU risks collapse unless rich states bail out poorer ones in coronavirus crisis


In a challenge to Angela Merkel the French President said Europe will only emerge from the coronavirus crisis intact if richer countries prop up the less well off.

Macron has warned the future of the bloc could be at stake over coronavirus

And he compared failing to support Italy and Spain to the Versailles Treaty at the end of WW1 which led to the rise of the Nazis.

His warning comes after the leaders of both those countries also said the bloc’s future is now in peril.

The EU has been split by a furious row over how to bankroll the continent’s recovery from the pandemic.

Mr Macron said EU countries have “no choice” but to set up a rescue fund that “could issue common debt with a common guarantee”.

He told the FT: “You cannot have a single market where some are sacrificed.

“If we can’t do this today the populists will win — today, tomorrow, the day after, in Italy, in Spain, perhaps in France and elsewhere.”

Mr Macron said the EU mustn’t repeat the “colossal, fatal error” France made at the end of WW1 of demanding reparations from Germany.

He warned the “sinners must pay” approach had triggered a backlash that ultimately ended with Hitler in power.

Instead he called for a new Marshall Plan. The original saw the US pour billions into rebuilding Europe – including West Germany – after WW2.

Angela Merkel said she will begin easing the coronavirus lockdown despite a spike in cases

But Angela Merkel is not keen on rtaking on debt burdens of the rest of the EU

France, along with Italy and Spain, is leading calls for the creation of “coronabonds” to funnel cash into struggling economies.

But such a scheme would create debt at a eurozone-wide level, making all countries in the single currency responsible for paying it off.

Germany and the Netherlands are strongly opposed, saying it would be “unfair” to burden their taxpayers with other countries’ debt.

Mrs Merkel has said: “I don’t believe we should have common debt because of the situation of our political union and that’s why we reject this.”