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July 19, 2020 The third day of negotiations at the EU summit on the Recovery Fund and the EU budget for 2021-2027 opens with a restricted meeting between the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the French President, Emmanuel Macron and the President of the EU Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen. The four were the first to arrive at the EU council headquarters this morning to take stock of the situation in view of the actual resumption of the summit set for 12 o'clock. A photo of the interview was posted on twitter by Michel's spokesman, Barend Leyts.

Still distant positions
After two days of intense negotiations, the 27 have still not managed to bring positions closer to the main issues that divide them: on the one hand, the volume, composition and governance of the Recovery Fund, points on which the opposition of the frugal countries, Holland in the lead, and on the other respect for the rule of law as conditionality to obtain funds for the recovery, which continues to weigh on the 'niet' of the Visegrad blockade. Meanwhile Michel is attempting to bring a new negotiating draft to the leaders' table on which to begin the negotiation. 

Merkel: "Today decisive day"
Today will "surely be the decisive day" of the European Council on Mff 2021-27 and on Next Generation Eu. "The various issues, the size of the fund, the governance mechanisms and the rule of law, have been properly addressed. I still cannot predict if there will be a solution. There is a lot of goodwill, but there are also many positions and I will help to find a solution. But it is also possible that there is no result today. " German Chancellor Angela Merkel says so in a statement before the Council cameras this morning in Brussels.

Welcome to day 3 of #EUCO on #MFF and Recovery Fund @ eucopresident started meeting just now with Chancellor Merkel @RegSprecher and president @EmmanuelMacron and @vonderleyen pic.twitter.com/uPfWfQAO5U

- Barend Leyts (@BarendLeyts) July 19, 2020
Macron: "Compromise possible but not at the expense of European values"
"We must find a good compromise in the next few hours, and I think it is still possible. But these compromises, I will say it clearly, will not be achieved at the cost of European ambition. Not in principle, but because we are facing a single health, economic and social crisis. Our countries need it and European unity needs it. " French President Emmanuel Macron says so, arriving at the EU summit. "For all these reasons, we will continue to fight," he added.

Macron said that "we will begin this third day of negotiations on the EU budget and on the recovery plan. For two days and two nights, we have shown our willingness to find a compromise, to move forward and we have not stopped working, with Mrs Merkel, with Charles Michel, Prime Minister and Mrs Von der Leyen, on this compromise that would make the budget acceptable to everyone. The willingness to compromise should not distance us from the legitimate ambition we need. It is in the next few hours. that we will know if the two
are compatible ".

"Today there are several arguments before us to finalize - he continued - the first is the rule of law which is at the heart of the conditionality of this budget, on which there was a huge consensus in saying that" respect is needed "at heart of values, the principles of the EU ". "There is a second point - continued Macron - the recovery fund and its implementation. We know, requests have emerged for greater control and proposals have been made unanimously and we must finalize the discussion. And finally the issue of the Recovery amount. We have differences here too. Here are the main issues that await us on which we must find a compromise, which is possible but not at the cost of European ambition ", he concluded.

Nous sommes prêts au compromis sans renoncer à l'ambition. Chacun doit prendre ses responsabilités. Continuons d'avancer ensemble. https://t.co/zdcPkH0vSh

- Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 19, 2020
Rutte: "Agreement possible, but still big issues open"
An agreement "is possible", even if "there are still big issues" open: Premier Mark Rutte said it during the night , speaking to the Dutch press. Among the points still to be clarified "the rule of law, the mix of subsidies and loans, the amount of subsidies, and rebates". Rutte spoke of "some progress" on the governance front, but "we are not there yet", and the discussion on the 2021-2027 budget remains open