Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, August 8th, 2020

Germany’s Merkel Warns of Summit Failure on EU Recovery Fund

Germany’s Merkel Warns of Summit  Failure on EU Recovery Fund

BRUSSELS - European Union leaders toiled in search of a coronavirus stimulus deal for a third day on Sunday but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the mounting acrimony over the level of spending might not easily be overcome.
Germany and France, the EU’s powerbrokers, are seeking a deal on a 1.8 trillion euro ($2.06 trillion) economic recovery package to rescue the bloc’s economies that are facing their worst recession since World War Two.
Sticking points are the size of the new recovery fund and what proportion should be in grants and loans, with some “frugal” richer states led by the Netherlands pushing to limit it, underscoring the depth of the EU’s north-south split.
Separately, the summit faces difficulties in agreeing the scale of EU budget rebates for richer countries, as well as a dispute over a proposed new rule of law mechanism, which could freeze EU funding to countries flouting democratic principles.
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose country was only just recovering from its 10-year debt crisis when the pandemic hit, made a plea for unity, saying the EU could not afford to look “divided or weak”.
“I sincerely hope that today we can break the deadlock,” he told reporters as he arrived at the Europa building in Brussels.
Leaders wearing face masks have called the summit a ‘make-or-break’ moment for nearly 70 years of European integration and failure to agree amid an unprecedented health and economic crisis would raise serious questions about the viability of the bloc, officials and experts say.
“There is a lot of goodwill, but also many positions. I will make every effort but it is possible that there is no result,” Merkel said.
Speculation was rife among EU diplomats that talks could run into Monday and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said he was willing to stay in Brussels all week, but another summit later in July was more likely in the event of no deal.
With consultations going on, the formal start of the summit plenary with all 27 leaders was delayed indefinitely. (Reuters)