Macron and Merkel propose to the EU a stimulus package of 500 billion

Macron et Merkel proposent à l’UE un plan de relance de 500 milliards

PARIS | The franco-German couple has proposed on Monday a plan to raise € 500 billion to help the european Union overcome the historical crisis caused by the pandemic coronavirus, via an original mechanism of mutualisation of european debt.

“To support a sustainable recovery that restores and enhances the growth in the EU, Germany and France support the creation of a Fund ambitious recovery, temporary and targeted” within the framework of the next EU budget with ” of 500 billion euros “, notes a joint statement.

Innovative element in the construction of europe: Paris and Berlin propose that this support is financed by loans from the Commission on the markets ” on behalf of the EU “.

This money will then be entered in the “budget expenditure” to the european countries, and “to the sectors and regions most affected,” according to the statement.

“These 500 billion will not be reimbursed by the beneficiaries of those who will use this money,” said the French president Emmanuel Macron in a joint press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel.

“This will not be loans, but grants” direct to the countries most affected, has he hammered.

The political impact of such a proposal is very strong, for an EU that was torn apart, almost to the point of rupture, when the financial crisis and Grexit, on the vexed question of the mutualisation of debts.

“It’s really important,” responded on Twitter Jacob F Kirkegaard of the Peterson institute for International Economics. “Signal history” to Henrik Enderlein, director of the Centre Jacques Delors in Berlin.

For the economist Jean Pisani-Ferry, it is a “reboot” for the franco-German couple. Impressive. Now begins the hard part: the negotiation of the EU-27”.

Austria wants to “loans”

Such a plan would be a step unique to a mutualisation of debt at eu level, to which Berlin, but also of the countries of Northern Europe has long been hostile.

“France and Germany are in favour of solidarity “european”, said Ms Merkel, acknowledging that the proposal was “courageous” and likely to attract criticism especially in Germany.

These $ 500 billion would be in addition to 500 billion have already been decided by the Finance ministers of the euro area and made up of building loans in particular.

In total, Europe débloquerait thus about 1 000 billion euros to overcome the historic recession that is looming for 2020 in the euro area (-7,7 % according to the latest forecast of the Commission).

Now the franco-German couple to convince all member States of the EU.

Trading at 27 might be difficult, following the lines of fracture in the traditional Union between the countries of the “North” and ” South “.

The austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz has responded on Twitter saying that he was in favor of the “loans,” and that he did not want to increase the budget of the EU, but a redistribution of its resources.

He spoke on this subject with the leaders of Denmark, the netherlands and Sweden, with other countries likely to oppose the franco-German proposal.

The entourage of the Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte as the Spanish government have welcomed ” a step in the right direction “, that the two countries were calling.

“Time hamiltonian” ?

“The franco-German propositions are ambitious, targeted, and welcome “, welcomed the president of the european central Bank, Christine Lagarde.

The president of the european Commission, and Ursula von der Leyen, also ” welcomed the constructive proposal of France and Germany “.

It must present the 27 of may of this year its own plan for the economic recovery of the EU.

“This proposal (franco-German) goes in the direction of the one prepared by the Commission, which will also take account of the views of all member States and the european Parliament “, she added.

Of this united Europe, must be born a ” Europe of health “, have also wanted to Paris and Berlin.

“Our desire is to equip the Europe of skills that are very concrete in terms of health. With common stocks of masks and testing, capacity of purchases common and coordinated treatments and vaccines, prevention plans shared in epidemics, common methods to identify cases. The Europe of health has never existed, it must become our priority ” has launched Mr. Macron.

To Mr. Enderlein, ” what matters most today is that France and Germany are in agreement that in a crisis, the EU can issue its own debt on a large scale. The political signal is that the EU is more than a group of nation-States and has its own federal identification. We may be assisted at a time hamiltonian “, in reference to Alexander Hamilton, secretary of the Treasury, who was one of the fathers of american federalism by centralizing the debts of the States in the 1790s.

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