«We have reached a deal on the recovery package and the European budget. These were, of course, difficult negotiations in very difficult times for all Europeans. A marathon which ended in success for all 27 member states, but especially for the people. This is a good deal. This is a strong deal. And most importantly, this is the right deal for Europe, right now» said Charles Michel, the president of the European Counil.
«And the decision that is made is not a virtual decision. It is a concrete decision that will have and must have a positive impact to ensure that we can look to the future with the determination to be up to this challenge » Michel concluded.
According to Dutch Prime Minister Rutte, who was seen by many as “Mister No” of the meeting, imposing reforms in exchange of grants, the Netherlands ultimately does not have to pay extra for the entire package that European leaders have agreed on.
The Dutch taxpayers will contribute €1.9 billion in membership fees, which €500 million less than during the previous financial period.
The Netherlands is also allowed to retain more customs income. That amounts to about two billion euros. Due to its favorable location, many goods are shipped via the port of Rotterdam and Dutch customs collect money there, because it is the external border of the European Union. Initially, the European Commission wanted to keep all this money itself, but now the Netherlands is allowed to let a large part of it flow into its own treasury.
The East European countires from Visegrad Four group, namely Poland and Hungary, declared their victory, refusing the claims of Dutch Prime minister to conntect grants reception to reforms obligations. “…We have also protected our national pride. We have successfully refused all attempts that would have tied access to EU funds to “rule of law criteria” wrote press-person of Hungarian goverenment on his Twitter blog.
Following the tradition of the Council meetings all the leaders declared “victory” – French President Macron delcared the day of the deal “historical“.
“A massive recovery plan is adopted: a common loan to respond to the crisis in a united manner and invest in our future. We never did! France has relentlessly carried this ambition” Macron wrote on his Twitter blog.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union leaders had come to a “good conclusion” after a €1.8 trillion budget for next sever years and coronavirus recovery fund were finally agreed on after days of talks.
However not everyone was impressed by the results of the four days marathon talks. “A hardworking garbage collector is being cheated by Prime Minister Rutte. The Italians and Spaniards do get their money. Hundreds of billions in loans and gifts.
Paid by the garbage collector and the rest of the Netherlands. Vote #Rutte away!” wrote Dutch Member of the Parliament Geert Wilders.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is “very satisfied”, because he gets €82 billion in “gifts – from our money – while Italians are three times richer than the Dutch“, Wilders continues, explaining they “hardly pay tax there”, and Dutch people are going to pay for them, because of Mark Rutte “weak knees“.
Next to political opponents the criticism of the deal came from the youth, who blamed the leaders the absence of ambition in support of Digital Europe, Horizon, Just Transition Fund (JTF) for vulnérable European. territories, suffering from climate change, European Neighbourhood policy (ENP ) and those who thought that with the Brexit the “era of rebates is finally over”.