The 27 was found on Friday in the virtual summit to launch the negotiations, both complex and uncertain, a recovery plan post-coronavirus massif, which would mark a historic step in the european construction.
No agreement is expected during this meeting. First, it should allow each european leader to disclose its objectives, as well as its margins of negotiation, on this re-launch is designed to support a european economy that is affected.
“It will be a warm-up lap, which is essential to take the temperature,” said the Elysée. In particular the netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark, the four “frugal” or ” stingy “), very reserved with respect to this plan, which will benefit primarily the countries of the south.
The Europeans, who are at 10 a.m., local time, hope to find an agreement before the end of July so that the plan enter into force in 2021, which leaves them six weeks.
“This is one of the most important joint projects for decades,” said one eu diplomat. “We can talk about something historic “.
The discussion will focus on the proposal of the european Commission “an instrument of revival” of 750 billion euros, largely based on the initiative of Angela Merkel and the French president Emmanuel Macron – an alliance of weight in the debate.
This fund complements a revised proposal for the EU budget for the period 2021-2027, 1 100 billion euros, on which the member States must also agree.
The 750 billion of the stimulus will be borrowed on behalf of the EU on the financial markets, leading to a ” debt common european “, which breaks a taboo at the european level.
Of this amount, $ 500 billion would be redistributed in the framework of the EU budget in the form of grants to the countries most affected by the coronavirus, such as Spain and Italy, and 250 billion euros in the form of loans.
“Never before has the cohesion and solidarity have been as important as today,” insisted Thursday the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.
“The bill to the taxpayers,”
In his “letter of invitation” at the summit, the european Council president, Charles Michel, believes that” an emerging consensus “on the need for such a plan and the fact that it will have to be” financed by debt ” in common.
But the differences remain numerous, whether its amount, its duration, the balance between loans and grants, criteria for the distribution of aid, as well as the delicate issue of ” conditionality “, that is to say the counterparty (e.g. reforms) claimed to a State in exchange for these funds.
Supporters of greater financial rigour, the four “frugal” require a level of expenditure ” proportionate “, is much less than the 750 billion announced.
And they opt for loans, that each State will therefore have to repay, rather than grants, with repayment terms are not defined in the proposal of the Commission.
The Swedish prime minister, Stefán Löfven, says he is ” very critical of the fact that the EU is expected to raise € 500 billion (…) to distribute them in the form of grants, without any obligation of repayment, sending the bill to future taxpayers “.
The Commission suggests a number of possibilities for the financing of this $ 500 billion by raising new resources to fuel the EU budget, without increasing the national contributions of member States : enlargement of the revenues collected on the european union’s carbon market, carbon tax at the borders, taxes on the activity of large enterprises, or a tax on digital companies.
But again, a compromise will need to be struck between the member States.
“If, at the end of the summit, each has understood and listened to the others, and that the ambition is to arrive before the summer, I will be very happy,” says the eu diplomat.
After this first round table, Charles Michel will launch consultations in view of one or two new peaks in July in Brussels, the physical this time.
A real encounter between leaders with his breaks and his asides is considered indispensable in order to reach a compromise on an issue as complex, where unanimity is required.