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Spanish minister says all EU COVID-19 debt will be repaid

FILE PHOTO: Spain's Economy Minister Nadia Calvino attends an European Union finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said on Friday that all the debt issued by the European Union to help its member states deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis will eventually be paid back.

The debt will be sustainable as it will finance projects to help the EU resume the economic growth that was interrupted by the coronavirus crisis, she said in a virtual panel held by French think tank Cercle des Economistes.

“Obviously the debt will be repaid,” said Calvino, who has been proposed by Spain to head the Eurogroup, the club of 19 finance ministers of the Euro Zone countries.

“The long-term sustainability of the debt is guaranteed and we are making plans and act responsibly as Europe ever has,” she added.

European Union leaders are due to meet in Brussels on July 17-18 to negotiate a proposed COVID-19 economic stimulus package worth 750 billion euros ($840 billion) partly financed by jointly issued debt.

The fund was proposed by the European Commission and welcomed by most EU leaders, but still needs to be agreed. Fiscally conservative northern countries led by the Netherlands are loath to see their taxpayers pay for grants to southern European states.

Spain would be one of the main beneficiaries of the recovery fund with around 140 billion euros in loans and grants.

Reporting by Inti Landauro, Editing by Nathan Allen and Giles Elgood

Nuestros Estándares: Los principios Thomson Reuters.

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