“…I am totally committed to start immediately real negotiations with the Member States. We intend to have a physical summit around the middle of July in Brussels. We will have the occasion to focus on some concrete proposals. Before this summit, I will put on the table some concrete proposals in order to try to take a decision. We are aware that it is essential to take a decision as soon as possible” said Charles Michel, the president of the EU Council after the teleconference with the EU heads of states and government.
“… The main topic was the MFF (Multiannual Financial Framework) and the Recovery Fund. It was the first occasion to discuss at the level of the leaders the proposals put on the table by the Commission, the MFF and the Recovery Fund. It was the occasion to observe that on different points there is an emerging consensus, which is very positive. But at the same time, we don’t underestimate the difficulties. And on different topics we observe that it is necessary to continue to discuss” Michel continued.
The European Commission has already put forward a budget proposal for the recovery from COVID-19, and adopted its first proposal for the EU’s long-term budget, the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF) package, on 2 May 2018. To respond to the economic and social fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission proposed a revamped long-term EU budget on 27 May 2020.
The proposal includes an emergency recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, to help repair the immediate damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic and kick-start the recovery.
The Commission’s proposal is a seven-year EU budget of €1 850 billion:
a revised long-term EU budget of €1 100 billion for 2021-2027
a temporary reinforcement of €750 billion – Next Generation EU
The EU Council has been analysing and assessing the proposal. In parallel, Charles Michel, the President of the European Council has been consulting member states ahead of the video conference of EU leaders on 19 June 2020.
However the Duthc Prime Minister Mark Rutte leads a coalition of four member states that are opposed to distribute €500bn in grants to the countries most severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. His leadership has broad national support, according to Dutch media 61% of the voters did not support the EU recovery plan as proposed by the European Commission, and only 4% of Dutch voters responded positevly to the Commisison generous plan.
The “Frugal Four” at present including Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden -presented their own concept for an EU recovery fund revealed to the EU capitals on 23 May. The most important point is lending. While the Commission proposal supported by Franco-German alliance includes a mixture of grants, loans and guarantees, the “Frugal Four” oppose the idea of grants, and stand for the temporary fund that should not lead to ‘debt mutualisation’, and the recipients of loans, mainlty the countries of the southeren Europe would have to display a ‘strong commitment to reforms’.
Since the end of May Mark Rutte has been at the forefront of a campaign refusing ‘gifts’ to southern European countries, promoting proposal of a ‘modernised’
The EU budget that will guarantee countries are strenghtened through the reforms, emerging with stronger economies after the pandemic crisis.