Everything is at stake in the immense crisis we are currently experiencing around the world. The first and foremost priorities are saving human lives and avoiding a further collapse of national and international economies, which would have disastrous material and social consequences. Equally, we must preserve our humane liberal democratic social systems, the conditio sine qua non in which our “free economy” is embedded. Only as free citizens can we face this crisis in an appropriate manner. To do so requires the maximum of politically organised, individual, regional, national and international cooperation and solidarity. In all our interests, including Germany’s, the countries of the European Union must act together with the utmost solidarity and mutually secure one another. By all available means, deploying the strengths of all individual national economies to create joint stability. The situation demands specific and immediate solidarity; in other words: establishing corona bonds jointly issued by the Euro states. And this must be done before the downward spiral gains even more momentum. The national economic and financial instruments passed to date – stimulus packages, emergency loans, bond purchases and financial injections – will not be sufficient, and nor will an updated variant of the European Stability Mechanism or “contingent credit lines” for national budgets. The impetus of events is too great. Who can really answer, in the current situation, for not using the strongest of all instruments that we Europeans possess?
The circumstances demand we act with maximum strength: maximum solidarity. For ethical reasons as well as on cultural, social and economic grounds. With great power comes great responsibility; it is a mandate, and Germany possesses great power. Everything we are has been given to us by Europe – now it is our turn to give back. We urgently call on the German government to approve at the next EU summit the proposal put forward by the Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte and the French president Emmanuel Macron to set up “corona bonds”. A demand already supported by Spain and six other EU countries.
31. March 2020
Translated by Katy Derbyshire