Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and EU leaders (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL) Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and EU leaders (Photo: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL)

Ahead of the videoconference European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen described her commission's proposed "Next Generation EU" recovery fund and Multiannual Financial Framework as ambitious but well balanced: “Together with the new MMF this is a huge stimulus of one thousand eight hundred and fifty billion Euros, and it does not only help the countries which were hit hardest by the virus, it also helps the countries whose economies have been hit hard indirectly because of the lockdowns. Europe must now invest and reform to get out of the crisis. And 'Next Generation EU' is designed to help Europe's recovery be resilient, sustainable and digital. In other words it will help Europe to modernize. This is a chance Europe cannot afford to miss.”

She added that in order to better prepare Europe to weather global storms, it must act decisively without delay. Von der Leyen expressed her satisfaction with the tone of the first negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework.

“The first discussion was in my view very positive. Leaders unanimously agreed that the severity of this crisis justifies an ambitious common response. One that combines solidarity, investment and reforms. And I was also glad to hear that many leaders stressed that we must do everything in our power to reach an agreement soon, in the European Council, before the summer break.”

Von der Leyen noted however, that there were disagreements on some segments of the recovery fund and the seven year budget: “Of course the discussion also showed differences of opinion on various issues, for example the overall size of 'Next Generation EU', on the balance between grants and loans, on the allocation key, and on new resources and rebates.”

For his part the President of the Council of the European Union, Charles Michel, also expressed his pleasure with the results of the first debate and added that negotiations would continue. “We intend to have a physical summit in around the middle of July in Brussels, and we will have to occasion to focus on some concrete proposals before this summit. I will put on the table some concrete proposals. In order to try take a decision, we are aware that it is essential to take a decision as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković described the negotiations as constructive.

Source: HRT