• Merkel: Urgent recovery fund for cohesion Europe, also by July
  • EU, Lagarde: quickly approve Budget and Recovery Fund
  • Recovery Fund: Von der Leyen announces the 750 billion 'Next Generation Eu', 172 to Italy
  • Recovery Fund, counter proposal from 4 Nordic countries: "Loans only, no debt mutualisation"
  • Ecofin, clash over the Recovery Fund. Gualtieri: the Commission's plan should not be downsized
  • Recovery fund, Sassoli: "There are no frugal countries and other spenders"
  • Next Generation Eu, Sassoli: "The member states indicate their intervention plans"


June 19, 2020

European Council meeting by videoconference to seek agreement on the 2021-2027 budget and on the plan for recovery and resilience. In all, it is 1850 billion (1100 the European budget and 750 for the plan to exit permanently from the recession). An agreement is not expected today given the differences on one and the other.

The expectation is that the heads of state and government will send EU President Charles Michel to approach positions with compromise proposals. A new summit is planned for 9 or 10 July and perhaps a third will be needed shortly thereafter. But they will be 'physical' meetings in Brussels: government officials have declared themselves unable to deal with such complex topics by videoconference.

Kurz warns: "Establishing conditions for binding aid"
Meanwhile, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz clarifies: "The Recovery Fund must not pave the way for a debt union" therefore "there must be a time limit" and "yes he has to discuss who pays what, who benefits the most and what conditions are binding on the aid ". Thus the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in a message posted on Twitter on the sidelines of the EU summit. "Austria is well coordinated with Denmark, Holland and Sweden" and wants to "contribute" to the EU debate, Kurz underlines, "Vienna's goal" is to show solidarity with the countries most affected by the coronavirus ".

Kurz hopes for an approximation of the positions, but insist on the fact that aid, especially if it is fully funded, must be conditioned and subject to control. Austria - together with Holland, Denmark and Sweden - is part of the group of 'frugal', who look with skepticism at the economic plan proposed by the European Commission (500 billion in non-repayable subsidies and 250 billion in the form of loans). While acknowledging that many open questions remain, Kurz hoped that the positions would come closer so that a satisfactory agreement could be reached for everyone at the July summit. However, he insisted that aid should be limited in time to avoid any kind of mutualisation, reiterated that he prefers loans to non-repayable subsidies and, in the case of non-repayable loans, said that they must be subject to external control and conditioned.

Conte: an agreement on Recovery is needed by July. Fair EU Commission proposal, do not fall below
"The Commission proposal is fair and well balanced. It would be a serious mistake to fall below the financial resources already indicated. And the combination of loans and subsidies is also well constructed. The timing they are very important. We absolutely have to close the agreement by July. And we must go along with the Commission's efforts to make certain resources available for this year, "said the Prime Minister to the EU Council.

"Recovery and Budget indivisible package"
We must keep the allocation criteria of the Multiannual Financial Framework distinct from those of the "Next Generation EU" and, in any case, consider these two proposals as components of a single indivisible package. This will allow Italy to have a more flexible attitude on some aspects of the MFF, for example those that appear more anachronistic (such as "rebates"), added the Prime Minister during his speech. 

Rutte praises Italy: good spirit of reform
The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, in his speech at the EU Summit by videoconference spoke positively of the reform plans that the government in Italy is discussing. This is learned from several sources. In meeting with other leaders on the Recovery Fund, Rutte said he looked favorably on the spirit that is inspiring the Conte government on reforms, especially investments and measures to increase productivity and growth.

Michel: compromise proposal, in mid-July EU Council in attendance
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has announced that he will make a compromise proposal on the Recovery Fund before a summit between leaders to be held in mid-July. After today's video conference, "I'm ready to start real negotiations immediately," Michel said at a press conference. After three weeks of consultations with the capitals, following the Commission's proposal on the Recovery Fund and on the EU's 2021-27 budget, "now let's move on to another phase: we will negotiate," explained Michel. "We intend to have a physical summit around mid-July in Brussels, first I will put some concrete proposals on the table (...) to be able to make decisions as soon as possible".

Letter from 5 PE groups to EU leaders: no compromises
Five of the seven groups in the European Parliament, from the center-right to the European left, have signed a sort of sort of 'unprecedented alliance' on the Union's budget guidelines, asking in a letter to the heads of state and government ahead of today's European Council meeting "don't compromise on the future of the European Union". The EPP, the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), Renew Europe, Verdi and the leftist GUE signing the letter, asking the European Council to "combine political declarations with sufficient budgetary means".

Manfred Weber, president of the PPE group, Iratxe Garcia-Perez (S&D), Dacian Ciolos (Renew Europe), Philippe Lamberts and SkaKeller (Verdi / Ale), and Manon Aubry and Martin Schirdewan (Gue / Ngl) define "a good point of departure "the Commission proposal, but warn that the € 500 billion of subsidies provided by the relaunch fund" are the bare minimum "and therefore oppose any reduction. "You will agree that it is difficult to ignore the majority of two thirds of the elected members representing the North, South, East and West" of the continent, they argue.

Sassoli: "The resources are there, enough with the tales"
The EU member countries "are not bare-handed" in the fight against the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. "All countries have resources and possibilities for intervention. I would not like the tale to be told that our economies are on the ground because the money from the Recovery Fund does not arrive." This was underlined by the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, responding, at a press conference in Brussels, to a reporter who asked him when the money will come for the Italians. "Because - Sassoli remembers - tools and resources are already available. And there are many". Of course, "we want more", but already "today, with everything that has been done, all countries have possibilities. This - he underlines - is a time of great responsibility for everyone, not a download. The tools are there, there there are many opportunities that can be exploited ". Of course, "we hope that the Recovery Plan will add" resources to those that are already available, concludes Sassoli.

Clarity on own resources Budget or no agreement
The European Parliament will not approve the Commission's package on the EU's response to the crisis if there is no clarity on the Union's own resources with which to finance the next long-term budget, added Sassoli. On the Recovery Fund "there will be no agreement without clarity on own resources and without a timetable". "Parliament wants to have the last word as budgetary authority - Sassoli reiterated - and will exercise its prerogatives".