EU faces biggest crisis of its history, warns Merkel

BERLIN: German leader Angela Merkel on Monday warned the European of facing the “biggest test” to their union as the United States braced for what authorities warned would be its hardest week in living memory.

France has admitted to facing the deepest recession since World War II. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel called for European nations to work together to rebuild from the deadly pandemic gripping the continent.

Japan announced an imminent state of emergency and a trillion-dollar stimulus package, while the United States prepared to cross the 10,000 deaths’ mark and its top doctor compared the likely impact of the outbreak in the week ahead to 9/11 or Pearl Harbor.

Over 70,000 people have now died worldwide, some 50,000 of them in Europe. The daily toll has begun to drop in the hard-hit Spain and France, but it is still accelerating in America.

Merkel calling for strength in the face of the grinding crisis said, “In my view… the European Union stands before the biggest test since its founding,” Merkel warned, a day ahead of a key eurozone finance ministers’ conference to agree an economic rescue plan for the bloc.

“Everyone is just as affected as the other, and, therefore, it is in everyone’s interest, and it is in Germany’s interest for Europe to emerge strong from this test,” she said, following criticism from harder-hit partners.

Italy, France and Spain have implored Germany, Austria and the Netherlands for common debt facilities to cushion the economic impact of the virus.