European Council, Conte: “An agreement is needed by July”. Merkel: “4 states reiterated no to aid, but uncontested bond issue”



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It was not the decisive summit, for that we will have to wait for the mid-July, but “positive aspects and critical points” were put on the table, to use the words of the German chancellor Angela Merkel at the end of the European Council where leaders discussed the multi-year budget of the EU and the plan for recovery after Covid-19, the Recovery Fund. The videoconference meeting of European heads of state and government began shortly after 10 am and lasted less than 5 hours. The premier Giuseppe Conte reiterated Italy’s willingness to accept the Commission’s proposal and called for an acceleration to “close the agreement by July“. A request also shared by the registrar Merkel who also explained the positions on the pitch: “I four known states (the so-called frugal, nrd) have expressed their skepticism that there are gods aid, and on this the position has not changed. But a situation has arisen in which to have a good boot of negotiations “. The German chancellery has in fact stressed that “the legal construction” of the Recovery Fund “has not challenged anyone” and in particular “the fact that the commission issue bonds was not put in discussion from no one”.

A step forward, also underlined by the president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen: “The first discussion” on Recovery Funds and Budget “was very positive“, The leaders said they wanted” an agreement before August “. The president of the EU Council Charles Michel announced a new summit around the mid-July, this time in presence. “Now we have to intensify contacts ”, he added, also because the issues on which the discussion“ remains very difficult“There are still many: total amount EU budget and recovery, discounts, proportion of loans and grants, conditionality and distribution criteria. With the others Frugal countries, “We think” the Recovery plan “should be based on loans and not on subsidies “and the positions in the Council” are still quite far away “, is in fact the comment of the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, at the end of the video conference. “We must reach an agreement soon. The more time we waste, the deeper the recession will be, “said the Spanish premier instead, Pedro Sanchez.

Conte: “Another step forward”
Europe “has done another step forward. We are all aware of what is at stake. We must reach an agreement in July, “Prime Minister Conte repeated on Twitter at the end of the European Council. During the videoconference he reiterated Italy’s position: “The Commission’s proposal is fair and well balanced. It would be a big mistake fall below the financial resources already indicated. And also the combination of loans is subsidies it is well built. And we must go along with the Commission’s efforts to make some resources available already for this year“. Conte asked that Recovery and the EU budget be considered “a single indivisible package“. The only way, he explained, to allow Italy to open up to some requests of penalty takers on the next Multiannual Finance Framework, such as the one on rebate, the discounts enjoyed by the so-called ‘frugal’ countries. “This will allow Italy to have a more flexible attitude on some aspects of the budget, for example those that appear more anachronistic, like the ‘rebate”, Explained Conte again.

Rutte (Holland): “Italy is doing well on reforms”
On the domestic front, “Italy has already launched a national consultation with all political, productive and social forces to draw up a plan for investments is reforms that allows us not to restore the pre-Covid 19 situation but to improve the level of productivity and of growth economic, “explained Conte to the EU Council. The Dutch premier Mark Rutte, European sources report, stressed that “look please the spirit that is inspiring the Italian government on reforms “with interventions in favor of” investments for growth and productivity “. An appreciation that comes after months of clashes on the European tables between Italy and Holland, one of the states opposed to subsidies for the countries most affected by the coronavirus.

Merkel: “EU funds not before 2021”
“I don’t think funds can be paid out already this year“Angela Merkel said in Berlin in a press conference after the European Council, responding to those who asked if states like Italy could receive European money before 2021. The chancellor stressed that parliaments must ratify the decisions that will be taken in Europe, stating then that it would be positive if the countries could know of to be able to count on funds from January. This is why Germany spent because get there quickly to an agreement in the EU. “The discussion took place in a very constructive atmosphere,” added Merkel, “we will move on to half July“.


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An interlocutory summit: positions on the field
Already on the eve there was the awareness that today’s one would be a interlocutory vertex: the leaders of the 27 member states will have to meet in person, in about a month, to reach a definitive compromise. The front of the countries of the South, including theItaly, defend the approach adopted by the EU Commission, which provides 500 billion grants and “only” 250 billion loans, with a control only on the progress of the projects agreed and financed by Brussels. Northern penalty takers, led byAustria and the other countries’frugal‘, They would like only loans and the introduction of conditionality related to structural reforms. Then there is the whole debate on the next European budget: the rich countries of the North do not want to increase theirs contribution and give up discounts (the rebate) they benefit from.

Sassoli: “We will not accept steps back”
The Commission’s 750 billion plan is also supported by the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, who intervened at the opening of the videoconference clarified: “It is an ambitious proposal that for us represents the minimum basis starting point. We will not accept no step back“. The president of the European Parliament Sassoli then turns to the rigorists when he says that “intervening only with loans would have asymmetric consequences on the debt of individual Member States and would be more expensive for the Union as a whole “. Moreover, he warned, “it serves reform the slope of the budget revenue and, for Parliament, the introduction of new own resources is a indispensable prerequisite for any global agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework ”. “The revised proposal relating to the MFF is not yet up to par of the priorities we gave ourselves at the beginning of this term and which are even more urgent today “, concluded Sassoli.

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