Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa at the press conference after the video conference of the European Commission.ANTONIO PEDRO SANTOS / EFE

“Disgusting”. Thus, with a syllable word, the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, responded to the Dutch Finance Minister, who suggested an investigation to Spain for not having budgetary resources to contain the pandemic. Dutch Minister Wopke Hoekstra suggested investigating why some countries do not have the budgetary margin to face a new crisis despite the fact that the euro area has had seven years of uninterrupted growth. He did not mention any specific country, but it was evident that the notice was addressed to Spain and Italy, the European partners most affected by the coronavirus and that at Thursday's European summit they appealed to European solidarity to demand joint measures against the pandemic.

After the meeting, on Thursday night, Costa charged at a press conference against the Dutch position. “That speech is disgusting within the framework of the European Union. That is the right expression: re-pug-nant-te, because we are not ready to hear Dutch finance ministers again as we heard in 2008, 2009, 2010 and consecutive years. ” Costa was referring to the phrase of another Dutchman, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who in a very controversial interview suggested that funds should not be lent to countries that did not do their homework, just as nobody would lend to those who spent money on “alcohol and women” .

“It is time to understand everyone,” added Costa in a fiery speech to journalists, “that it was not Spain who created the virus, nor Spain who imported it; the virus unfortunately catches us all equally. If we do not respect each other, and if we do not understand that when faced with a common challenge we have to respond together, then no one has understood what the EU is. If any EU country thinks it solves the virus problem by letting it loose in other countries, it is very misled. The virus knows no borders, the first contaminated Portuguese went to travel to other countries, we cannot blame those countries, “concluded the Prime Minister.

The summit of EU leaders ended without an agreement on an economic plan to overcome the crisis due to the resistance of countries such as Germany and the Netherlands to an ambitious plan for economic recovery beyond a bailout involving certain conditions. Costa, however, focused on the position of the Netherlands: “This type of response is utterly unconscious, it is recurrent, it completely undermines the spirit of the EU and is a threat to its future. If the EU wants to survive, it is unacceptable that a political leader, from whatever country, can give such a response to a pandemic like the one we are experiencing. Because of things like these, we all perceive that it was unbearable to work with Mr. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, but apparently there are countries [Holland] that insist on changing names and keeping people with the same profile ”.


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