Recovery fund: the counter-proposal of the “frugal” quartet led by Austria and Holland

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At the moment the details are not known, but the guideline of the proposal should be to encourage the use of loans instead of “non-refundable grants”, effectively contesting the heart of the Franco-German initiative for the benefit of the most needy countries. In a interview to Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, an Austrian newspaper, Kurz he stressed the concept even more clearly: “Solidarity is done with loans, not with non-repayable contributions”, adding that you can “relaunch the European economy without going through debt mutualisation”.

Another condition set by the “frugal” was that indicated by the Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte: loans to countries should only be granted in exchange for a European economy reform plan. “If you ask for help – said Rutte – it is necessary to carry out far-reaching reforms so that we can be self-sufficient next time”.

Conte’s letter and the transversal front for “European unity”
At the opposite extreme of the frugal four there are the countries that push precisely for the measure most opposed by Kurz: a “joint effort” for the EU, that is the debt mutualisation in the form of bonds issued at Community level. In a intervention on the Politico.eu portal, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte recalled how his letter to the number one of the European Council Charles Michel in favor of the so-called coronabonds had obtained the accession of eight countries (Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal , Slovenia and Spain).

Conte, settling a direct hit even to countries that “want a modest EU budget”, invites the Commission to draw up an even more ambitious plan than that outlined by Paris and Berlin. The intervention does not make explicit the expected size of the recovery fund, even if Italy and Spain had expressed themselves in favor of a fund of at least 1000 billion to be added to the approximately 1000 already foreseen in the 2021-2027 Community budget.

As for the method of disbursement of aid, the Italian premier insists on the use of “grants”, subsidies, criticizing the “stereotypes” on the North-South Europe rift and highlighting how the vertical fall of the EU economy requires a joint response among the 27 .



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