The German government is planning an economic aid package worth €822 billion to prevent companies from going under during the coronavirus pandemic.
The money will go to fund the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, according to a draft bill seen by AFP Saturday.
To finance the extraordinary measures ranging from partial nationalisations to credit guarantees to salary top-ups for workers forced into part-time, the government will also shed its debt averse attitude.
Not only will Merkel’s government drop its dogma of keeping the budget balanced, it will go a step further to seek permission from parliament to raise the legal limit on its annual borrowings.
Merkel’s government will seek to borrow 156 billion euros for 2020, a sum that exceeds a constitutional limit by 100 billion euros.
Faced with the coronavirus pandemic which has brought all travel to a standstill, forced employees into working shorter hours and left most shops shut, Merkel has vowed that Germany will do whatever it takes to preserve its economy.
“We will do what we can to get through this situation well, and we will see at the end of that where our budget stands,” she had said last week, stressing that ending the virus crisis “comes first”.
Lawmakers in Germany are likely to make a decision this weekend over whether a lockdown needs to be placed on the country. Bavaria and Saarland became the first German states to enforce one – both went into effect on Saturday, March 21st.
The total number of reported infections in Germany grew to around 19,848 cases as of Friday March 20th at 9pm, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Robert Koch Institute.
But depending on an individual state’s policies, many other possible cases may not have been tested because they show only mild symptoms or have not been in contact with a known case.
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