French European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin on Sunday said that the EU's credibility and utility is at play during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
She urged EU members to ask themselves how they are going to make decisions as a 27-strong group, given that they are unable to even decide on financial assistance to COVID-19-hit countries.
The statement comes after the leaders of nine EU member states, including France, Spain, and Italy, in a letter on Wednesday called for a common debt instrument to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
In the letter, addressed to European Council President Charles Michel, the leaders underscored the necessity of working on such an instrument “issued by a European institution to raise funds on the market”.
"This common debt instrument should have sufficient size and long maturity to be fully efficient and avoid roll-over risks now as in the future", the letter pointed out.
The document, also signed by the heads of Portugal, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Belgium, and Greece urged the EU to "explore other tools like a specific funding for coronavirus-related spending in the EU budget" for 2020 and 2021.
The letter followed Italian Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri calling for the eurozone's bailout fund - the European Stability Mechanism – to be used to help economies survive the coronavirus crisis.
He also called for the creation of the common debt instrument, which so far has been rejected by the EU’s wealthiest nations.
Europe remains the continent worst affected by the novel coronavirus that originated in China’s Wuhan in late 2019. Italy, Spain, Germany, France, and Switzerland are the most badly hit nations with the highest number of cases. Italy and Spain, in particular, have the highest mortality rates from COVID-19 in the world.