In the fight against the Corona economic crisis, the EU countries have agreed on the largest budget and financial package in their history. The compromise was accepted by the 27 member states after more than four days of negotiations early Tuesday morning at a special summit in Brussels, as councilor Charles Michel said on Twitter. Together, the package comprises EUR 1.8 trillion – thereof EUR 1074 billion for the next seven-year budget and EUR 750 billion for an economic and investment program to combat the consequences of the pandemic crisis.
With the financial package, the European Union wants to fight the historic economic downturn and keep the EU internal market together. At the same time, investments should be made in the conversion to a more digital and climate-friendly economy. For this, debts are being raised on a large scale in the name of the EU, the money is redistributed and repaid together over decades.
«Frank & frei»: “If the EU is doing well, Switzerland is doing well”(13:25)
Merkel: “In the end, we gathered up”
Chancellor Angela Merkel has shown relief at the agreement at the EU’s Corona Crisis Summit. It was about showing determination. “It was not easy,” said the CDU politician on Tuesday morning at the end of the summit in Brussels that started on Friday. What counts for them, however, is that “in the end we gathered ourselves together”.
New conditions also required extraordinary new methods, said Merkel. The summit also lasted an extraordinarily long time. “The budget is geared towards the future of Europe,” said the chancellor. But it is also a question of the fact that the internal market can continue to function in one of the most serious crises in the Community. She predicted “very difficult discussions” with the European Parliament.
Macron happy with deal
French President Emmanuel Macron has recognized the agreement at the EU summit on the budget and financial package as a great achievement. Macron wrote on Twitter early Tuesday morning: “Historic Day for Europe!” The Frenchman, together with Chancellor Merkel, campaigned for the billion-dollar program to combat the corona crisis.
EU Council leader Charles Michel also described the agreement on the billion euro package against the corona crisis as a decisive moment for Europe. “This is a good deal, this is a strong deal, and above all, this is the right deal for Europe now,” said Michel in Brussels early Tuesday morning. It’s not just about money. The agreement is also a sign of trust for Europe and the world.
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said that Europe still has the courage and the imagination to think big. “We are aware that this is a historic moment in Europe.” Europe succeeded in responding forcefully after an intense struggle.
EU funds linked to the rule of law
On Monday, two of the most controversial individual issues were resolved, clearing the way for the overall deal. On the one hand, a compromise was found after days of arguing about the core of the Corona program: the so-called frugal states accepted that common debts would be raised and that the money would go to EU countries as a grant. In return, Germany, France, Italy and Spain agreed to reduce the total of these grants from the Corona program from € 500 billion to € 390 billion. In addition, there are 360 billion euros that are granted as loans.
The second sticking point was then resolved on Monday evening: a formula was found for linking EU funds to the rule of law, which all 27 countries adopted. Previously, Poland and Hungary had strictly opposed such a rule of law mechanism, especially since both countries are under trial for violating fundamental EU values. However, several other EU countries have insisted that EU money be slowed down if common values are violated. The compromise formula was developed by several countries and presented in the round of 27 by the Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins.
Merkel reacts evasively to the question about the clause
The interpretation of the clause was different. While EU officials described it as an effective coupling, the Polish news agency PAP cited Polish government sources as saying that the coupling had been removed. Hungarian media celebrated the agreement as a victory for Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Merkel has evaded the question of whether EU funds can be cut in the future if EU states violate the principles of the rule of law. “You know that a legal act that the Commission has proposed is being discussed in the Council,” said Chancellor Merkel on Tuesday morning. “This legal act must now be continued.”
The CDU politician said that one might also deal with questions on the subject again at an EU summit. A qualified majority is needed to adopt the legal act in the Council of Ministers.
EU special summit in Brussels misses length record
According to the EU, only 25 minutes were missing to make the Brussels special summit on the budget for the next seven years the longest in the history of the Union. The record at the Nice Summit in 2000 remains. According to the EU bill, this had only ended after 91 hours and 45 minutes.
In Nice, the heads of state and government negotiated a new EU treaty that allowed Europe to grow closer together. The course was set for admission by the countries of Central and Eastern Europe that were not yet part of the EU, as well as by Malta and Cyprus. (SDA / szm)