Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands want to help crisis-hit countries with loans instead of grants. The EU budget should not be increased.
Four states submit counter-proposals
Austria, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands submitted a counter-proposal to the Franco-German initiative for a corona reconstruction plan. The countries that call themselves “The Economical Four” are in favor of a one-off emergency fund to strengthen the EU economy.
It is particularly important for the states to limit these emergency aids to two years, it said on Saturday from the Austrian Chancellery. In the counter-proposal, which has already been announced several times, the four states also make it clear that they will not agree to a communitization of debts and an increase in the EU budget.
Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and French President Emmanuel Macron recently submitted a € 500 billion concept for a recovery plan after the coronavirus pandemic. Accordingly, the money is to be taken up by the EU Commission as loans on the capital market and distributed as grants via the EU budget. Crisis states like Italy or Spain, but also affected sectors could receive grants. To do this, however, all 27 EU countries would have to agree.
The states speak of the principle of “loans for loans”
Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has sharply criticized this concept in numerous interviews and appearances over the past few days. “We clearly say yes to Corona emergency aid, but what we reject is a debt union through the back door,” he said in a guest post on Friday at the virtual CSU party conference.
According to the counter-proposal, the EU Commission should raise the money for the emergency fund on the financial markets and pass it on to the member states as cheap loans. The states speak of the principle of “loans for loans”. The money had to be used for the reconstruction and future resilience of the health sector and the economy. The four countries did not specify a maximum scope for the emergency aid fund.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had confirmed in the past few days that his country would only agree to aid if it was linked to reforms. When countries expect support, “one can at least ask what they will do to save themselves next time,” he said.
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