BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission proposed on Wednesday to borrow 750 billion euros on the market and issue grants and loans to EU countries to kick-start an economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.
Below are initial reactions of EU governments to the plan.
“We are pleased because it looks like the Commission has taken up elements of the Franco-German initiative. We now have to closely examine the large package with a large number of legal acts. In the end, it’s about finding a compromise among the 27. We want to make progress quickly,” German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said.
Calling it an “essential day for Europe”, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter: “(EU Commission head Ursula) von der Leyen offers an unprecedented recovery plan of 750 billion euros for regions and sectors in difficulty. The Franco-German agreement has made this possible. We must go quickly and adopt an ambitious agreement with all our European partners.”
“Great signal from Brussels, it goes exactly in the direction that was indicated by Italy,” Italian Prime Minster Giuseppe Conte said on Twitter.
The Spanish government said in a statement the proposal responded to “many of Spain’s demands” and would serve as a good basis for further negotiations.
“The starting point is that the Netherlands is willing to help and wants to cooperate on a European level to fight the crisis. We want to do this in a way that strengthens member states and the EU as a whole,” said a Dutch diplomat.
“The positions are far apart and this is a unanimity file so negotiations will take time. It’s difficult to imagine this proposal will be the end-state of those negotiations.”
“We welcome the Commission’s bold proposal for a package of 750 billion euros, mainly in the form of grants funded via joint debt issuance. The bar has been set high,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Twitter.
“It is a serious and interesting basis for negotiations in the European Council, which should now accelerate. We will carefully analyse details of the presented package,” said Poland’s EU ambassador, Andrzej Sados.
“We will then raise the matter at the regular European Council on 19 June 2020. Everything should be done to reach an agreement before the summer break. Our citizens and businesses have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. They need targeted relief without delay.”
Reporting by European bureaux; Editing by Gareth Jones