EU leaders to hold coronavirus videoconference Tuesday

European Union leaders will take part in a crisis videoconference Tuesday to coordinate actions to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

"Containing the spread of the virus, providing sufficient medical equipment, boosting research and limiting the economic fallout is key," tweeted European Council chief Charles Michel.

The 27 EU member state leaders will hold their extraordinary summit—called by Michel—one day after the G7 holds a similar high-level videoconference.

Europe has now become what the World Heath Organization regards as the epicentre of the global novel outbreak, and Brussels is trying to coordinate the response.

Several countries have taken unilateral steps to close their borders or impose stricter controls, despite calls from EU chiefs for a common approach.

Finance ministers from the eurozone single currency bloc were also to hold video talks later Monday, as the continent readies a financial package to steady the economy.

France's President Emmanuel Macron said he had discussed the issue with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen and with Michel before Tuesday's meeting was called.

"We are working between Europeans," he tweeted, predicting there would be urgent "demanding decisions in the next few hours".

EU officials are expected to announce measures to coordinate restrictions on movement later Monday.

© 2020 AFP

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