Recovery Plan of the EU: a night under tension, the 27 push for an agreement

Plan de relance de l’UE: nuit sous tension, les 27 poussent pour un accord

Eu leaders will continue their discussions on Monday afternoon in the hope of finding an agreement on a recovery plan post-coronavirus, in the fourth day of a summit painstaking, marked by a great tension and deep rifts.

After a full day of discussions on Sunday, and then a long night of exchanges, the session between the 27 EU leaders has been suspended from 06: 00. It should resume at 16: 00.

The president of the european Council, Charles Michel, mediator of the summit, should be here then submit a new draft compromise to the capitals.

Source concur that he should propose to lower the share of grants in the stimulus package of 750 billion € 390 billion, compared to 500 billion in the initial proposal. The rest would be made up of loans.

It is a new step in the direction of the so-called “frugal” (the netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Finland, which block any agreement from the start of the summit Friday.

“Difficult negotiations have just ended and we can be very satisfied with the result today”, has twitted the chancellor of austria Sebastian Kurz to the adjournment of the meeting.

“Now there is a trail agreement,” said a diplomatic source.

According to a French source, “the franco-German couple has done everything to bring the most reluctant around 400 billion” euros in subsidies, which were till then their red line.

The frugal were, conversely, not willing to go beyond $ 350 billion of subsidies, according to a source european.

“Very hard”

The day of Sunday has been marked by speech, at dinner, the French president Emmanuel Macron, who is out of its hinges to expose the unwillingness and the “inconsistencies” of frugal, according to several sources.

He blasted the behavior of Sebastian Kurz, when the latter suddenly left the table to take a phone call. According to a european sources, the Austrian felt “offended” by the remark.

The French also compared the Netherlands Mark Rutte at the ex-british Prime minister David Cameron, who also had a hard line during the european summits, stressing that “this kind of positioning ended badly”. The curator had finished it by losing the referendum on the Brexit.

Mr. Macron has also reminded the 27 that it was France and Germany who were going to “pay plan”, in “the interest of Europe, when the frugal make no concession,” reported a source close to the discussions.

“There has been a pass very hard. The President followed by the chancellor (Angela Merkel) has banged her fist on the table”, is there shown of French source.

At a time when an historic recession hits Europe, the reluctance of the frugal threaten to disrupt a massive plan to support the economy, which would benefit primarily the countries of the South such as Italy and Spain, the most affected by the epidemic.

“Weak Europe”

On the table of negotiations, a fund established by a borrowing capacity of € 750 billion to revive the european economy, backed by the long-term budget of the EU (2021-2027) to 1.074 billion euros.

The unanimity required of the 27 member States, makes agreement particularly difficult.

At the dinner, Charles Michel urged the 27 to agree to not present the “face of a weak Europe, undermined by distrust”.

It has multiplied throughout the summit, pledged in favour of frugal, for example, in attempting to respond to the request of Mark Rutte to confirm the unanimity of the 27 the national recovery plans submitted by each country in consideration of the aid.

Such a configuration, which would amount de facto to a right of veto for each capital city, concerned about Rome and Madrid, who fear they may be subject to a programme of reforms (labour market, pensions…) imposed.

The Belgian has presented a more nuanced, allowing a country that would have some reservations on the plan of another State to open a debate to 27.

Among the other points of contention, the link between the payment of aid and the respect of the rule of law, a measure supported by The Hague, but who cringe Budapest and Warsaw, currently in the sights of the EU.

The Hungarian Prime minister Viktor Orban has strongly opposed Sunday, accusing even his Dutch colleague of wanting to “punish him financially” and “hate” him and Hungary.

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