Fighting the COVID-19 emergency and re-launching the European economy
This first policy insight of the new FEPS COVID Response Papers series highlights some peculiar characteristics, from an economic point of view, of the current Covid-19 crisis. It looks at its exogenous nature with respect to Eurozone countries, as well as at the complex mix of supply and demand shocks it entails. Given these features, the authors suggest two intertwined policy measures in order to tackle the emergency phase of the crisis and the subsequent recovery.
First, a pervasive intervention of Eurozone governments in support of business and households income in the context of the “suspended” economy that measures against the diffusion of Covid-19 have forcefully given rise. The ECB is advised to monetize all public expenditures linked to this emergency plan by purchasing public bonds in the primary market, and to subsequently write them off or exclude these issuances from the computation of public debt-to-GDP ratios. With no signs of inflationary pressures coming, the ECB intervention would avoid Eurozone governments to pile up considerably higher stocks of debts and would help to bypass the current political impasse among Eurozone Member States as to the creation and release of Eurobonds.
In the aftermath of the emergency phase, the authors suggest the implementation of a massive Europe-wide recovery plan centred on public investment addressing the long-lasting technological and environmental challenges of these years, and financed by European institutions through the issuance of European Pandemic Recovery Bonds (EPRBs).