March 23, 2020 / 6:46 PM / 9 days ago

German minister rejects euro bonds - "It's a phantom debate"

BERLIN, March 23 (Reuters) - German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has dismissed calls by other European countries to introduce jointly issued debt, also known as euro bonds, as a way to finance measures to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The debate about euro bonds is a phantom debate," Altmaier told business daily Handelsblatt in an interview to be published in the Tuesday edition.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has called for special "coronavirus bonds", or a European guarantee fund, to help EU states finance health spending and economic rescue programmes.

The European Commission is ready to consider backing common debt issuance in the euro zone to help the bloc weather the massive economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber, Editing by Ludwig Burger )

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