The German Finance Ministry has promised that the country’s companies hit by the coronavirus crisis will get unlimited access to loans and credit guarantees, as part of the government’s efforts to tackle the economic fallout from COVID-19.
The access will be provided by the state development agency KFW, the Ministry said on Saturday, adding that if necessary, KFW’s permitted lending volume of €460 billion ($512 billion) could be increased by €93 billion ($103 billion).
Referring to the measures, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, for his part, told reporters that “this is the bazooka with which we are doing what is necessary now”.
“We are putting all our weapons on the table and showing that we are stronger than the problem we might face in economic terms”, he said, adding that there is “no upper limit on the amount of loans KFW can issue”.
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, in turn, touted the measures as “unprecedented in Germany’s post-war history”, and the “most comprehensive and effective assistance and guarantees [that] there have ever been in a crisis”.
Touching upon the terms of KFW loans, he underscored that the government is “making an unlimited pledge, to the smallest businesses, from taxi drivers, to the creative industries, to really big firms with tens of thousands of workers”.
Eric Schweitzer, head of the German chambers of commerce and industry, welcomed the package as “an important signal that German companies need right now”.
The remarks came after President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen on Friday described the coronavirus pandemic as “a major shock” for EU members’ economies.
“The important economic package announced today deals with the situation […]. We stand ready to do more as the situation evolves. We will do whatever is necessary to support Europeans and the European economy”, she stressed referring to a raft of steps “to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak”.
According to the latest information, there are 3,675 confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany, with the death toll currently at eight; 46 people have already recovered from the disease.