Coronavirus: Rocky path forward for European Fee

Ursula von der Leyen wearing a face mask in the European ParliamentPicture copyright

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Fee President Ursula von der Leyen should persuade EU member states to again her proposals

This unprecedented cash elevating effort is a couple of collective accountability as President Ursula von der Leyen sees it.

She acknowledged that it was “excessive time to take the correct choice as a result of the price of not investing within the disaster, will come again manifold in future.”

However her pitch was simply the beginning of what’s going to take an enormous effort by the Fee to get all member states on facet, particularly because the Fee needs this agreed by leaders on the subsequent EU summit in three weeks time.

After a spherical robin of calls to European diplomats this afternoon, I obtained a transparent sense that there is not but an total majority in favour.

Southern Mediterranean international locations corresponding to Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy have all indicated preliminary assist. One Italian diplomat instructed me that if the proposal was agreed, Italy could also be eligible for grants accounting for as much as 5% of the nation’s GDP, to kickstart their publish pandemic financial system.

There are numerous international locations, together with Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Lithuania that will not commit both approach, till they’ve learn the small print of the plans. “With this stuff, the satan is commonly within the element, so it will take a number of days of authorized evaluation”, one Bulgarian official instructed me.

There’s nicely publicised opposition from the self proclaimed ‘frugal 4’ consisting of Austria, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. An Austrian diplomat instructed me that it was “encouraging to listen to that 250 billion euros could be raised by way of loans” however urged that the 500 billion euros in grants have been a “non starter” at this level.

Brexit seems to have introduced collectively this ‘thrifty’ alliance, which shaped in 2018. In addition to requesting that loans are handed out as an alternative of grants, they don’t need to improve the scale of their finances contributions, with the intention to fill the hole left behind by the UK’s exit.

The sensation right here in Brussels is that it’ll have to be a head to head assembly between leaders to forge a compromise, as a result of video-conferencing is a poor substitute for fiscal diplomacy. And that’s not more likely to occur till inner borders are reopened someday over the summer time.

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Media caption“That is our second,” Ursula von der Leyen tells the European Parliament

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