Merkel & Rutte exclude European Parliament President David Sassoli from coronavirus crisis talks.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have excluded European Parliament President David Sassoli from talks on the EU response to the coronavirus crisis, El Pais reports.

“The main community leaders held a second videoconference on the coronavirus crisis on Monday (6 April) with the notable absence of the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli,” the Spanish daily reported.

“The leader of the only institution chosen by universal suffrage has been deliberately excluded once again from the forum in charge of preparing the roadmap for a comprehensive recovery plan […] Germany and the Netherlands lead the exclusion of Sassoli.”

EURACTIV reports that European Parliament sources confirmed that although Sassoli holds daily teleconferences with Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, he does not take part in videoconferences.

The same sources said it was “bizarre” considering that the Parliament is a key EU institution.

At the last EU Council, EU leaders asked the four presidents representing the Commission, Eurogroup, European Central Bank and EU Council to present informal proposals for a recovery plan. In normal circumstances, the discussion should be led by the five presidents, including Sassoli.

However, Spanish media reported last week that Merkel blocked the Italian’s participation amid fears that he would push for coronabonds, an option that Berlin fiercely opposes.

“The European Parliament represents the will of the citizens and therefore deserves maximum respect. Its President must not only be heard but also participate in decision-making. We are not going to allow any Prime Minister or Chancellor to silence our voice,” Iratxe Garcia, the President of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament tweeted last night.

Viewed in the context of the closure of borders by member states, a move that has angered the European Commission, an institution that has so far struggled to find its place in the response to the crisis, the actions of the Dutch and German leaders appear to suggest a "sidelining" of the EU institutions.

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