03:02 GMT14 August 2020
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    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (92)
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    Brussels has announced a post-COVID recovery fund, of 750 billion euros, to help restore economies of EU member nations. However, the news has been met with criticism from politicians and experts across the bloc, who fear that bailouts coupled with looming recession and harsh austerity measures, are the latest steps towards Europe’s disintegration.

    Looking at this story in more detail, Sputnik spoke to the political commentator Keith Rowe, in this interview.

    Sputnik: What impact will the future recession across Europe have on the EU's strength and its image that it exports across member states?

    Keith Rowe: Well the first thing is - isn't it great that we're not in it anymore? Isn't it absolutely fantastic that we're not hidebound by the inner bickering of the EU, the infighting that's going on, the huge amounts of extra of borrowed money on top of borrowed money, with no prospect much of it have ever been paid back?

    We're well out of that and we're much better off being able to look after our own affairs. In terms of a looming recession across the EU; if there is one then everybody will be affected, because obviously they buy goods from us, we buy goods from them.

    It's not in anybody's interest for the EU to enter into a recession and I hope that the EU, in the same way as our own economy, bounces back to a large extent from the hit of this pandemic but at least we are isolated from it to some extent now we're out.

    If there is such a thing it will have a knock-on to us because we supply them and they supply us. Maybe it'll make prices cheaper for European goods. That would be no bad thing.

    It certainly means that come to any negotiation, come to any tariff settings between the EU and Britain, it just shows how bonkers the EU would be to put tariffs on because any tariffs that go on our goods, will then naturally go on to their goods coming in, and believe me, they can't afford to reduce purchases from this country. So it's in the EU's interest to keep trade tariff-free, and free and flowing as much as possible.

    Sputnik: Can we expect to see other member nations become more Eurosceptic on the back of its bailout and austerity policies that are likely to come into effect post-Covid?

    Keith Rowe: A number of us have been saying this for years now and Nigel Farage has certainly been saying it for a very long time and we're seeing it absolutely manifesting now. We're seeing the cracks getting wider.

    Italy, of course, there's a big movement there for Italy to leave the EU, Poland... so many countries now we're seeing the rise of movements to say: 'Look, Britain's left, it is possible.

    They're going to be much better off out. Let us do the same thing before it's too late and we get dragged by this quagmire of debt and waste that is the EU'. I think we're going to see increasing calls for other countries to leave the EU and I think we should be very supportive of that and help them.

    Sputnik: Will these events across the continent affect UK/EU negotiations; if so in what way and to what degree?

    Keith Rowe: The economy is bound to affect the negotiation and it's in both sides’ interests, as I said before, to keep trade flowing freely. If the EU enters recession it's even more in their interests to make sure that we keep buying off them.

    We are one of their biggest markets and we need to keep buying their goods if they're going to have any hope of coming out of this. Although it's obvious that there will be some dip in every economy that's been closed down by the COVID pandemic, when these businesses reopen, there is pent up demand.

    People want to get out there, they want to go to the restaurants and the clubs, they want to buy these goods. So, there's a lot of pent up demand to give the economy something of a boost and I think a huge part of coming out of a recession is the confidence that things can be right again.

    People can look forward to the future and know that there will be jobs for them because the economy is moving and I think it's in everybody's interest to say: "let's be upbeat about this".

    We've had a terrible time with the pandemic but now is the time to use perhaps some of the money, if we've been lucky enough to save some because we haven't been able to spend it over this time, to enjoy ourselves and just bring the economy back up to where it should be.

    I'm very hopeful that although it'll definitely take a hit for this year, there are no two ways about that, I think we can come out of this okay and things will get back up to an even better level than they were before, at some point in the future.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Topic:
    Global COVID-19 Cases Spike to Highest Level Post-Lockdown (92)
    Tags:
    euro, recovery, fund, EU, Brexit, U.K
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