“The bridges we still have to build are big”
We held an objective and constructive discussion about the reconstruction fund, explained Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, following the European Council’s video conference. As expected, there is no result yet. “The bridges we still have to build are big,” explained the Chancellor.
Many questions yet to be answered
Germany is satisfied with the basic architecture of the reconstruction fund, affirmed Merkel. At the same time, however, a whole series of questions is yet to be answered. For example, the database to which payments will be referenced must be clarified in detail, she added. The duration of the programme and the date of repayment must be scrutinised, too.
Rapid assistance is required
The Federal Chancellor affirmed her support for linking the reconstruction fund to the European semester. At the same time, she urged that a rapid flow of funds be facilitated. In order for this to happen, she said, bureaucratic rules and the subject of the duration of the approval process must be reviewed again. The question of competition law must also be discussed, she added.
The EU’s greatest challenge
We are facing “the greatest economic challenge in the history of the European Union,” explained Merkel. “The measures we take must be correspondingly great, too. This includes ensuring that these measures are not something that might happen at some point, but something that must happen in a way that generates confidence in the economic reconstruction of Europe after this pandemic.” Germany is committed to securing a rapid agreement, promised the Chancellor.
EU Council President Charles Michel plans to host another meeting in Brussels in mid-July. New proposals are to be prepared up until then.
The heads of state and government also discussed Great Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. They agreed that negotiations must be speeded up. An agreement must be on the table in the autumn so that it can be ratified by both sides by the end of the year.
The Minsk Agreement was also discussed. The heads of state and government agreed to extend the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia for a further six months due to the ongoing Ukraine conflict.