In the fight against the corona crisis, the EU is supposed to collectively debit € 500 billion. Merkel and Macron’s plan met with resistance in the north and approval in the south.
The EU should provide 500 billion euros in additional financial aid for economic reconstruction after the Corona crisis. This is the plan of Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
In particular, the southern EU countries welcome the initiative, northern EU countries reject EU debt, which is passed on to affected countries as non-repayable financial aid. Because the plan has to be approved unanimously by all 27 EU countries, the new initiative from Berlin and Paris is threatened with a quick end.
In short: money only as a loan
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz heads the opponents of the 500 billion euro plan. The conservative politician wrote on Twitter that he had exchanged views with the heads of government in Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. Result: “Our position remains unchanged,” said Kurz on Twitter. “We will continue to show solidarity and support countries that are most affected by the Corona crisis, but this must be done through loans and not through grants,” Kurz said.
The FDP also rejects the Franco-German plan to take up joint EU debts: It is “very skeptical” that the plan will become a reality, said deputy FDP parliamentary group leader Alexander Graf Lambsdorff ARD and ZDF morning magazine.
He was surprised at the “180-degree U-turn”. Neither in the EU nor in the national parliaments there is agreement. “That will not happen because there are not enough countries to support it and I do not think it is the right way to go about it,” said Lambsdorff. He spoke of a “lazy spell”.
The Union faction agreed: “We support the joint initiative of Chancellor Merkel and President Macron as a strong contribution to European solidarity in the Corona crisis,” said deputy CDU / CSU parliamentary group leader Andreas Jung and budget spokesman Eckhardt Rehberg. The joint Franco-German proposal shows that European assistance is also possible without corona or Eurobonds – “and therefore without debt pooling”.
Today Merkel wants to promote the relief plans in a video conference with the heads of government of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Joy in Rome and Madrid
In contrast, Merkel and Macron have to do little convincing work in Italy. The Italian government praised the plan. With the sum of 500 billion euros “we can start to make the recovery fund (reconstruction fund) even more substantial within the framework of the European budget”, quoted the news agency Ansa Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez wrote on Twitter about an “initiative that is in line with our demands and in which we have to move forward”.
Countries like France, Italy and Spain have repeatedly demanded EU financial injections in order not to increase their already large debts even further.
Approval also came from the EU Commission: “This goes in the direction of the proposal the Commission is working on,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. ECB chief Christine Lagarde told several newspapers that the proposals were “ambitious, targeted and welcome”. EU Council President Charles Michel spoke of a step in the right direction and called for a willingness to compromise on the part of all 27 EU countries.