Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels, July 18, 2020. - John Thys / AP / SIPA

Towards a European compromise? Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday expressed "hope" of reaching an agreement on a post-coronavirus European recovery plan on the fourth day of a marathon summit in Brussels.

Discussions resume "with the possible hopes of a compromise. Nothing has yet been decided, so I will remain extremely careful, "said Emmanuel Macron upon his arrival at the European Council where negotiations are to resume around 4:00 p.m.

"A spirit of compromise is there"

"Not being at the rendezvous of the spirit of compromise and ambition is to take the risk of coming back to harder times and (…) that ultimately costs us more", warned the French President, alluding to the demands of the so-called "frugal" countries for a lower recovery plan. "There is a spirit of compromise which is there, there have been very tense moments and moments which will undoubtedly be still difficult", he continued, while a new proposal must be made by the president of the Charles Michel European Council in the afternoon.

This “must necessarily be a compromise proposal” but “it must keep the ambition for our major European policies for the future, in particular climate policy, sovereignty, digital or with regard to youth, and ambition for the recovery plan. This is the condition for our solidarity and for the stability of the European Union and the euro zone, ”he said.

The Franco-German proposal revised downwards?

Upon her arrival, Chancellor Angela Merkel, while acknowledging that "the discussions were incredibly difficult and that they would continue today", also expressed her "hope". “Last night, after long negotiations, we found a framework for a possible agreement. It is a step forward and it gives hope that an agreement can be reached today, at least that an agreement is possible, "she said.

The two leaders had proposed in mid-May a plan of 500 billion subsidies and joint debt, which had been a flip-flop for Angela Merkel, long opposed to this idea. A plan which inspired that of the Commission, taken up by the Council.

Concordant sources, Charles Michel should propose to lower the share of subsidies in the recovery plan to 750 billion euros: 390 billion, against 500 billion in the initial proposal. The rest would be loans.


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Coronavirus: Let's go for two days of tense negotiations in Brussels around the EU recovery plan

  • Economy
  • EU
  • Recovery plan
  • Angela Merkel
  • Coronavirus
  • Emmanuel Macron