The coronavirus has destabilized the large european market

Le coronavirus a déstabilisé le grand marché européen

BRUSSELS | The decisions taken in the emergency to stem the crisis caused by the new coronavirus endanger the cohesion of the EU, under the threat of a domination of firms that received State aid, warns the european commissioner Elisa Ferreira.

“Almost 2 000 billion euros (3 000 billion $) have been authorized in State aid and half of these amounts were distributed solely by the German government to help its national companies. When these companies start in the competition on the domestic market, they have a total advantage compared to the other”, commented the commissioner of the Portuguese to the Cohesion, during a meeting with a group of journalists, including AFP.

“If you want a scale, the total amount of State aid granted by the member States, the most powerful in their own businesses is equivalent to the GDP total of approximately 16 eu member States,” she stressed.

“It is important, therefore, that in the framework of the recovery programme, the conditions for fair competition to be restored”, she explained.

“It is necessary to remedy a situation of complete imbalance that allows some companies to take control, to buy all the others because they have become very weak or are in bankruptcy. We are facing a critical situation”, she warned.

Elisa Ferreira does not question the decisions that have helped to facilitate the granting of State aid, because they “were necessary”. But it press to restore the balance.

“We need a big market to be fully operational for a successful raise,” she insists. “If half of the Union is in a recession, it is very dangerous. The internal market cannot function. The Euro can’t work”, she argues.

“Half of the exports of the +frugal+ (a group of countries including the netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark, reserved on the support to be granted to the countries of the South) to the large european market. It should be notified”, she advocates.

“Europe would be in a position very disadvantageous vis-à-vis the major blocs, such as China or the United States, because they are coming already out of their pockets a lot of money to stimulate the recovery of their economies.”

Cohesion policy

The european Commission shall submit on may 27, an economic recovery plan based on a budget for the period 2021-2027, with a capacity of borrowing.

The amount of the multi-annual budget and the borrowing capacity, the destination of the funds and their reimbursement will be negotiated between the 27 member States, and unanimity will have to be found.

France and Germany have pleaded for a loan shared of 500 billion euros (762 billion dollars) over three years, money back over the long term. The money would be allocated in the form of funding programmes of the EU budget and aid to the sectors of activities and the States most affected by the crisis.

“A multi-year budget is limited to 1 % of european GNI, as the call for the “frugal”, will not be enough,” said Ms. Ferreira.

In the proposal put on the table by the president of the european Council, Charles Michel in the beginning of the year, the funding for Cohesion amounted to a little more than 237 billion euros (237 billion $). The project was rejected by the member States in February.

Elisa Ferreira has not been able to ensure that these amounts will be provided in the new draft budget expected at the end of may. “I can’t promise anything, but we will fight for it,” she said. “We will not have anything to do with a political cohesion weakened”, she stressed. “It is necessary to strengthen it”.

This policy, which aims to reduce inequalities between the levels of development of regions within the EU, is “an integral part of the internal market”, she insisted.

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