EU’s north-south divide rears its ugly head again as coronabonds are killed off

Hardline opposition to EU solidarity in funding the cost of Covid-19 is driven by German allergy to ‘imprudent’ spending, and by Dutch politicians fearing the transfer of funds to southern countries would provoke a far-right backlash

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor with Mark Rutte (left), the Dutch prime minister and Josep Borrell (right), the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at a European Council summit in Brussels. Picture: Getty Images

The devil is in the detail, they say. With the International Monetary Fund warning that the world is facing the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, eurozone ministers last week finally concluded dozens of hours of tortuous teleconference negotiations and announced a €500 billion-plus rescue package for Europe.

Half a trillion euro is a large chunk of money, with €240 billion coming from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and another €300 ...