EU coronavirus recovery package is massive shift for bloc that will work ‘wonders’

By Jack Parrock, Shona Murray, Joanna Gill

Brussels says the way through the economic crisis from the coronavirus pandemic is a 750 billion euro fund they’re calling Next Generation EU.

They are pinning their plan on dividing it into 500 billion to be distributed in grants and 250 billion in loans.

It’s a massive shift for the EU – the suggestion is the EU Commission will raise money on international markets with its triple A rating and give it out to member states hardest hit.

Countries in the bloc have never pooled their debt together in this way before.

The plans are now being trawled over by Europe’s political factions. While MEPs largely welcomed the emphasis on grants that don’t need to be paid back, some thought it lacked ambition.

“The overall volume might not prove sufficient in time but in any case, what we need to make sure is that we don’t lessen the ambitions,” said MEP Ska Keller (Greens, Germany).

The fund along with the budget it is proposing will total 1.85 trillion euros.

French President Macron and the Spanish, Greek and Italian prime ministers all took to Twitter to welcome the proposal.

Frugal four

Now the Commission and its supporters will enter into battle with the so called ‘frugal four’ countries – Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark – who are staunchly opposed to shouldering debt with already heavily indebted southern neighbours.

A Dutch source has told Euronews its government’s position ‘remains unchanged.’

The Netherlands – one of ‘frugal four’ group of member states objecting to handing out grants to countries as part of the recovery fund says their ‘stance remains.’

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