Merkel warns coronavirus crisis ‘still just the beginning’

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her country must remain “clever and cautious” in handling the coronavirus crisis, as it is “not the end phase but still just the beginning”.

“We’ll have to live with this virus for a long time,” Ms Merkel told parliament ahead of an EU summit, via videolink.

She said Germany should be ready to “make very different, meaning much higher contributions to the EU budget”.

The video summit – the EU’s fourth on coronavirus – is now under way.

EU leaders are expected to sign off on a new €540bn (£470bn; $575bn) emergency fund to protect European workers, businesses and countries worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The details are yet to be worked out.

The €540bn would be released through EU institutions that already exist, including the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the main bailout fund set up in response to the 2008 financial crisis.