Dutch PM Rutte says ESM coronavirus aid would be "last resort"

BRUSSELS, March 26 (Reuters) – Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said EU leaders were unable on Thursday to agree on the scale and scope of their economic response to the coronavirus pandemic and hence went for the “minimum common denominator” of buying more time.

Rutte told reporters after six hours of talks between the 27 national EU leaders that The Hague was against issuing joint debt and that, should any instrument based on the euro zone’s ESM bailout fund be needed ahead, it would have to come with conditionalities.

He said using the European Stability Mechanism should only come as “the last resort” and it was too early to deploy it as the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic was not clear yet and the EU should keep some tools available for the future. (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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