Dear European friends,
On Thursday European finance ministers agreed measures in response to the current economic crisis of up to € 500 billion. The question of eurobonds was delegated back to heads of state, who are expected to reach a decision on a larger recovery fund in the European Council on April, 23rd.
It was crucial that commitment towards European solidarity would be shown this week, and we are pleased that a partial compromise was reached. We are also not surprised that there is still a long way ahead of us.
Momentum for eurobonds is not only palpable across Europe but largely shared by intellectuals in Germany. This past week saw the publication of many editorials, articles, interviews, and open letters urging the German government to reconsider its position. Former President of the Bundestag Norbert Lammert argued that Merkel’s reluctance towards eurobonds had already caused greater damage in Europe than their economic implications could ever create. Meanwhile, the leading British historian Timothy Garton Ash, one of the signatories of our letter, struck a more optimistic tone. Merkel, he writes, “has an unexpected last chance to go down in history as a major architect of a stronger European Union”, provided she makes the right call on eurobonds.
We need to keep this momentum. Our open letter continues to get support, with currently over 700 signatories, and dozens and dozens of distinguished European intellectuals signing every day. When the European Council meets to revisit the question of eurobonds we hope to publish the letter with far more signatories than those that were listed when we submitted it to Merkel’s office last Monday.
As the letter has been circulated at universities some students have also signed, as well as friends and family members of signatories. We welcome the support of the general public very much and will publish all signatories’ names beneath the initial list of European intellectuals.
Feel free to share the letter, whether directly or on social media. We have set up a website where it is possible to sign the letter in English, German, French and Italian and where the list of signatories will also be updated regularly.
If calls for greater European solidarity don’t subside we remain hopeful that no government can decline the demands for positive change. As we recently learned from a podcast with another British historian, Richard Evans, even commercially minded Hamburg transformed and emerged stronger after an 1892 cholera epidemic. The EU can do the same now.
Thank you all again for your support. As promised, we will keep you posted about further developments. In the meantime, we hope that you all stay safe and that, in spite of everything, you have a peaceful Easter weekend.
Nina & Andrea on behalf of the team (Gian Giacomo, Felix, Jack)