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Ferdinando Giugliano

Merkel and Macron Make a Stunning Coronavirus Proposal

If the Franco-German plan for a 500 billion-euro recovery fund isn't watered down, it could move the euro zone a bit closer to a fiscal union.

Caring and sharing.

Caring and sharing.

Photo: Pool/Getty Images Europe

Throughout the pandemic, euro zone governments have lagged behind the European Central Bank in charting a path out of the economic crisis. Germany and France have suddenly decided they want to lead the way.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron have tabled a joint plan that includes, among other items, a shared 500 billion-euro ($543 billion) “recovery fund” for the EU. Berlin and Paris are front-running the European Commission, which is meant to present its own proposal for the fund next week. The two leaders are sending a clear signal to the more hawkish euro area members — such as the Netherlands and Austria — that the worst-affected nations need more than financial wizardry to get through this emergency.