March 1, 2021

The European summit enters a “decisive” moment as Merkel and Macron warn the Netherlands that “there will be no agreement without an ambitious plan”


Third day of consecutive summit. And third day of blocking. The moment is so critical in Brussels that the summit of 27 does not have a start time and bilaterals follow one another. Why? Because basically there are five countries countries in the corner of the no., which call for large cuts on transfers from the recovery fund – which go from 500,000 million euros to about 333,000 -. The countries are the four self-styled frugal – Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden – plus Finland.

The demand of the Netherlands and its allies to cut the anti-crisis fund and increase control keeps the summit blocked

The demand of the Netherlands and its allies to cut the anti-crisis fund and increase control keeps the summit blocked

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“At the moment, it is no longer a matter of evaluating one or the other negotiating proposal, but of elucidating whether it is really possible to reach an agreement,” acknowledge Spanish diplomatic sources.

“The discussions between countries continue, but they are difficult,” explained a European diplomatic source: “The French president, Emmanuel Macron; and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, do not want the recovery plan to be degraded, but the frugal remain obstinate. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, is speaking with them, but he will not present a new proposal without an informal agreement by the frugal on an ambitious volume for a recovery plan. The moment is decisive “,

That ambitious volume could have the limit of 400,000 million euros in transfers and subsidies, estimated in the current proposal at 500,000 – plus another 250,000 in loans.

Emmanuel Macron himself has stated: “We must find the right compromises in the next few hours. I think it is still possible, but it will not be done at the expense of European ambition.” And the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has warned for her part: “Today we are going to the third day of negotiations and it is the decisive one. I still cannot say if there will be a solution. There is a lot of good will, but there are also many differences. I will be among the pushing for a deal, but it may not have worked. ”

In addition to the size of the recovery fund, Macron explained that open topics are “an acceptable budget for everyone”; “the rule of law, which is at the heart of the conditionality of this budget and at the heart of the EU’s values ​​and principles; and” the demands for more control and the proposals on unanimity to decide on the merits of Recovery [que reclama Holanda]”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, met this Sunday with Macron, Merkel, Von der Leyen and Michel, who are making rounds with the different divergent countries. “The negotiation continues. On the one hand, the vast majority of countries, including the largest, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, which defend the European institutions and the European project. And on the other, a few countries, called` frugal “said the Italian Prime Minister.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsoyakis acknowledged on the third day of trading: “We have not advanced enough to reach an agreement. I sincerely hope that today we can break the impasse.”

Part of the impasse has to do not only with the recovery fund and its architecture, but with the connection of European funds with respect for the rule of law, as Macron pointed out, to which Poland and Hungary are opposed. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated this Sunday: “I don’t know what is the personal reason why the Dutch Prime Minister hates me or Hungary, but he is attacking hard and making it very clear that because Hungary, in his opinion does not respect the rule of law should be financially punished. That is his position, which is not acceptable, because there is no decision on what is the state of the rule of law in Hungary. ”

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