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On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. Ill-prepared and reluctant to halt economic activities, EU member states were slow to react to contain the spread of the virus. Although necessary, the lockdown measures came with a heavy price. The need for economic and financial assistance for EU member states with limited fiscal space has never been more pressing. The response to the economic damage this crisis has inflicted on the Union must be joint and swift – the future of the EU depends on it.

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© The Author(s) 2020

Open Access: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Open Access funding provided by ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

DOI: 10.1007/s10272-020-0884-2