Ursula von der Leyen had a document with the key to allocate funds distributed by country and sector for the first time early this morning. Shortly thereafter, the President of the European Commission will gather her 26 Vice-Presidents and Commissioners and show them, also here for the first time, a second document with what everyone wants to know more: how much is the Recovery Fund package in total worth today. Brussels executive to propose government approval.
the secret that von der Leyen has most jealously guarded, arriving in the last few days to cut off (almost) all the capitals and its own team from Brussels. He did not want news leaks or pressure from prime ministers to follow. The German President of the Commission on Monday and yesterday arrived to summon her commissioners and vice-presidents one by one, to grant them always limited segments of light on the sums at stake, on the division between budget transfers and loans, on how to allocate resources in Europe.
For the rest von der Leyen remained closed for days with two collaborators brought with him from Berlin in his office on the top floor of the Berlaymont building, where he also had a tiny apartment used. Certainly for the German chancellery in recent days he has exchanged impressions and at least until last Friday he was working on a package that should be worth between 600 and 650 billion euros. Loans only a minority, the rest direct transfers. It would be rational: the Franco-German agreement last week foresaw 500 billion transfers only. But on the upper floors of the Commission we want to propose something more, with a specific objective: to ensure that the agreement between governments in the end gets very close to where Paris and Berlin had indicated it. Something in the subsequent negotiation between capitals – which will last until July, perhaps until September – will in fact be granted to the resistances of the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria (which, however, should have reimbursements on their contributions to the EU budget for a total of 40 billion euros in seven years).
Certainly for Italy the resources available from the Recovery Fund in 2020 will not exceed ten billion: half non-refundable sums, half as European guarantees for those who recapitalize strategic companies of over 50 employees. So in the fall, after the blockade on layoffs, the special cash funds in derogation and emergency income are exhausted, the pressure on Italy will rise. The government can no longer afford to give up the 37 billion lire of the Mes bailout fund lightly. Meanwhile, yesterday President Sergio Mattarella phoned his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steimeier and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte.