World Bank lends Philippines $500 million to counter coronavirus impact

The World Bank last month approved two sets of loans totaling $600 million to support the Philippines’ emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak. Above, president Rodrigo Duterte in one of the meetings on the coronvirus task force. (Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)
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Updated 29 May 2020

World Bank lends Philippines $500 million to counter coronavirus impact

  • Philippine government will begin easing from June 1 one of the world’s longest lockdowns
  • Loan will support efforts to provide immediate relief to poor Filipinos and small business workers

MANILA: The World Bank Group approved a $500 million loan for the Philippines to help it cope with the economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Bank said on Friday.
The Philippine government will begin easing from June 1 one of the world’s toughest and longest lockdowns for residents in the capital and other key cities, restoring much-needed activity to an economy facing its deepest contraction in nearly three decades.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has badly hurt millions of poor and vulnerable Filipino families, particularly daily wage earners,” said Achim Fock, World Bank acting country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.
The loan will support efforts to provide immediate relief to poor Filipinos and small business workers who have lost their jobs during the lockdown since mid-March, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said in a statement.
The World Bank last month approved two sets of loans totaling $600 million to support the Philippines’ emergency response to the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 15,000 and killed more than 900 in the Philippines.


France backs calls for EU sanctions on Turkey

Updated 19 September 2020

France backs calls for EU sanctions on Turkey

  • Cypriot officials insist the EU shouldn’t set a ‘double standard’ by imposing sanctions against Belarus for alleged voter fraud while avoiding doing so when Turkey carries on its exploration at the expense of EU members

JEDDAH: France on Friday backed Cyprus’ calls for the EU to consider imposing tougher sanctions on Turkey if the Turkish government won’t suspend its search for energy reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters where Cyprus and Greece claim exclusive economic rights.

French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune said sanctions should be among the options the 27-member bloc considers employing if Turkey continues to “endanger the security and sovereignty of a member state.”

“But we consider that the union should also be ready to use all the instruments at its disposal, among them one of sanctions, if the situation didn’t evolve positively,” Beaune said after talks with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides in Nicosia.

A European Parliament resolution has called for sanctions against Turkey unless it showed “sincere cooperation and concrete progress” in defusing tensions with Greece and Cyprus.

Marc Pierini, a former EU ambassador to Turkey and now analyst at Carnegie Europe, said the resolution reflected the views of a democratically elected parliament from across the bloc. “This is not ‘country X against country Y,’ it is the aggregated view of the European Parliament,” he told Arab News.

EU leaders are set to hold a summit in a few days to discuss how to respond to Turkey prospecting in areas of the sea that Greece and Cyprus insist are only theirs to explore.

Turkey triggered a naval stand-off with NATO ally Greece after dispatching a warship-escorted research vessel in a part of the eastern Mediterranean that Greece says is over its continental shelf. Greece deployed its own warship and naval patrols in response.

Greek and Turkish military officers are also holding talks at NATO headquarters to work out ways of ensuring that any standoff at sea doesn’t descend into open conflict.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Turkey’s withdrawal of its survey ship and warship escorts was a positive step, but that Greece needs to make sure Ankara is sincere.

He said a list of sanctions will be put before EU leaders at next week’s summit and whether they’ll be implemented will depend on Turkey’s actions. “I’m hoping that it won’t become necessary to reach that point,” Dendias said.

Cypriot officials insist the EU shouldn’t set a “double standard” by imposing sanctions against Belarus for alleged voter fraud and police brutality while avoiding doing so when Turkey carries on its exploration at the expense of EU members.

Meanwhile, the EU is set to announce sanctions on Monday against three companies from Turkey, Jordan and Kazakhstan which are accused of violating a UN arms embargo on Libya, diplomats told AFP.