THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – 2020/03/23: Prime Minister Mark Rutte attends a press conference about COVID-19 outbreak.
After much criticism, the Dutch government now wants to give a “gift” to other European countries that are grappling with the coronavirus outbreak, including Italy and Spain.
The coronavirus has hit Europe hard, bringing its major economies to a complete standstill. France, Germany, Italy and Spain — the four biggest EU economies — are all in lockdown, meaning that citizens are only allowed to leave their houses to buy food or medicine. The situation has been particularly dire in Italy and Spain where the number of infections and deaths are higher than those in China, where the outbreak began in late 2019.
The pandemic is also shaking the foundations of the European Union — the political and economic group of 27 countries — by resurfacing an old divides between northern and southern nations.
The Netherlands unveiled Wednesday a plan for a “coronafund,”…