Berlin and paris promote eu reconstruction plan

Berlin and paris promote eu reconstruction plan

After the franco-german initiative for a 500-billion-euro program for economic recovery in the EU, both countries are now beating the advertising drum – because resistance is rising.

Austria, the netherlands, denmark and sweden insist that the eu only gives repayable loans and no grants. Austria’s chancellor sebastian kurz announced a counter-proposal by several countries: "we believe that it is possible to boost the european economy and still avoid a communization of debt," he told "oberosterreichische nachrichten".

German finance minister olaf scholz (SPD) said at a joint appearance with his french counterpart bruno le maire in brussel that the plan would now be discussed by the economics and finance ministers. Le maire underlined the historical dimension of the franco-german initiative. Chancellor angela merkel (CDU) explained key points of the plan to the heads of government of poland, the czech republic, hungary and slovakia. How they reacted was not disclosed at first.

Merkel and french president emmanuel macron had presented a joint concept for the reconstruction plan the previous day. The 500 billion euros are to be raised by the eu commission as loans on the capital market and then distributed via the eu budget as grants. If the countries jointly take responsibility, they can borrow money at more favorable conditions than would be possible for many governments on their own. Crisis countries such as italy and spain, but also affected industries, were able to receive grants. But for that to happen, all 27 EU countries must reach agreement.

Le maire said that for the first time it had been agreed to take on debt together in europe to finance investments. "This is a historic step for france and germany and it is also a historic step for the entire eu.". The corona crisis exacerbates the economic gaps in the community. Solidarity is now crucial.

The vice president of the european parliament, katarina barley, also considered the project to be a step forward in solidarity. Unlike the much-discussed "euro bonds," the proposed fund is limited in time and content and is essentially an emergency program, the SPD politician told deutschlandfunk radio. Praise also came from north rhine-westphalia’s minister-president armin laschet – in french. Merkel and macron had laid the "foundation stone for a new europe" that is more united, more solidary and together stronger in the world, the CDU politician wrote on twitter.

Union faction leader brinkhaus told the "spiegel" that the proposal shows that european solidarity works even without communitization of debt. CDU secretary-general paul ziemiak told "focus online" that the support must be used "in a very targeted way.

Deputy FDP faction leader alexander graf lambsdorff, on the other hand, was critical: "this is supposed to be a 180-degree turnaround, that suddenly the european union is allowed to get into debt after all," he said on ZDF’s "morgenmagazin". He is "very skeptical" that the plan will become reality and expects a lively debate for germany as well. Germany is the largest net contributor to the EU budget, with a share of about 27 percent. Afd parliamentary group vice chairwoman beatrix von storch accused merkel of breaking her word because "euro bonds" were coming after all – "only lightly disguised to swap the german taxpayers".

Austria’s chancellor sebastian kurz had already said on monday evening that he had exchanged views with the heads of government of the netherlands, danmark and sweden, writing on twitter: "our position remains unchanged."It is ready to help with loans. Denmark’s finance minister nicolai wammen said, according to the news agency ritzau, that the german-french proposal had not changed the danish position. His government is now waiting to see what the EU commission will probably decide on 27 june. May present.

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