Macron and Merkel remain “hopeful” of a compromise

Despite differences with the Netherlands, Austria and other so-called “thrifty” countries, the French president and German chancellor on Monday expressed “hope” to reach an agreement on a post-European recovery plan. coronavirus.

On the fourth day of the EU summit in Brussels, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel want to remain optimistic. On Monday, July 20, the French president and German chancellor expressed “hope” to reach a compromise on a European coronavirus recovery plan.

Discussions resume “with possible hopes of a compromise. Nothing has been concluded yet, so I will remain extremely cautious,” said Emmanuel Macron on his arrival at the European Council, where negotiations would resume at 18.00 (GMT).

“Still no agreement after four days of negotiations”

“Not meeting the spirit of compromise and ambition is taking the risk of coming back to harder times and (…) that in the end it will cost us more”, he warned, referring to demands from so-called “thrifty” countries for a lower stimulus plan.

“Very tense moments”

“There is a spirit of compromise there, there have been very tense moments and moments that will undoubtedly still be difficult,” he continued, while the president had to present a new proposal from the European Council, Charles Michel, in the afternoon.

This “must necessarily be a compromise proposal”, but “it must keep the ambition of our great future European policy, in particular climate policy, sovereignty, digital technology or with regard to young people, and the ambition of the recovery plan. This is the condition for our solidarity and for the EU: and the stability of the euro area, ”he said.

Upon her arrival, Chancellor Angela Merkel also expressed, while acknowledging that “the discussions were extremely difficult and that they will continue today”, “her hope”.

“Last night, after long negotiations, we found a framework for a possible deal. It is a step forward and gives hope that an agreement can be reached today, at least after ‘a deal is possible,'” she said.

Decreasing proportion of subsidies

By mid-May, the two leaders had proposed a plan with 500 billion in subsidies and a joint debt, which had been a face of Angela Merkel, long opposed to the idea. A plan that inspired the Commission’s plan, adopted by the Council.

From consistent sources, Charles Michel should propose that the revision of subsidies in the stimulus plan be reduced to EUR 750 billion: EUR 390 billion, compared to EUR 500 billion in the original proposal. The rest would be loans.

“A strong political symbol”Asked about France24, Rémi Bourgeot, an economist and researcher associated with the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (Iris), confirms that the recovery plan “on an unprecedented scale on a European scale” will soon be “implemented”. According to him, it is a strong political symbol because it “reflects the cohesion of European governments”.

But this agreement will not change the situation, nuance the economist. “What is important is the stimulus plans that are played out at the state level.”

Brussels Summit: “The plan with an outstanding scale at European level is almost complete”