The UN Secretary General António Guterres has warned that the coronavirus outbreak is the biggest global challenge since World War 2. He said the virus crisis could bring a recession which has no parallel in the recent past. And Guterres’ warning is just one of a glut of catastrophic predictions about the economic impact of measures imposed to combat the pandemic.
The number of confirmed cases around the world is now nearing two million with more than 102,800 deaths.
Yesterday, the US counted more than 2,000 Covid-19 fatalities in the space of 24 hours, smashing all previous daily death tolls worldwide.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany are reporting well over 120,000 cases each.
In the UK 980 people died in the last 24 hours – the worst coronavirus daily figure anywhere in Europe since the outbreak began.
As the crisis deepens, it has emerged the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has not cut her exorbitant salary yet – despite many European parliamentarians already already giving a percentage of their pay to charities working on the Covid-19 frontline.
Ms von der Leyen’s salary increased by just under €560 to €28,461 a month on her first working day in the top job in Brussels last December.
When this is matched with her tax-free allowances, she is likely to be making around €33,400 (£29,340) a month.
The 61-year-old officially took over from Jean-Claude Juncker on December 1.
Italian MEP Antonio Maria Rinaldi told Express.co.uk: “Italian parliamentarians and many MEPs cut their salaries in order to give a percentage to charities working on the pandemic frontline.
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“I would really like the European bureaucracy to do the same.
“However, even Ursula von der Leyen has not done anything about it, despite receiving an exorbitant salary.
Mr Rinaldi added: “Even if she decided to cut her salary 20percent, she would still have more than enough money to buy her groceries.
“She earns around €33,000!
“Sadly, right now, many European citizens cannot say the same thing.
“It is a slap in the face of poverty.”
The EU has been heavily criticised for being slow and ineffective with its coronavirus response.
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Last week, the bloc’s top scientist, Professor Mauro Ferrari, resigned claiming he was “extremely disappointed” by Brussels.
The professor had only been in his post at the helm of the EU’s main scientific body since January 1, and had been due to serve a four-year term.
He said in a statement: “I arrived at the European Research Council (ERC) a fervent supporter of the EU [but] the Covid-19 crisis completely changed my views, though the ideals of international collaboration I continue to support with enthusiasm.
The chief scientist had tried and failed to convince the ERC to set up a special programme to fight the coronavirus pandemic, but the proposal was unanimously rejected by its governing body.
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