France sees possible EU recovery fund deal in July

(EurActiv, 18 Jun 2020) France hopes to reach an agreement with the 26 other members of the European Union on a proposed €750 billion recovery fund in July, a presidential adviser said on Wednesday ahead of a video conference between EU leaders on Friday (19 June).

The EU has proposed a €750 billion aid package to help countries deal with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, echoing a Franco-German deal presented earlier, but some frugal northern European nations led by Austria and the Netherlands have been deeply sceptical.

“It’s in no one’s interest to see the situation get bogged down,” the adviser said, adding that ‘giant steps’ had been made in recent weeks, including securing the backing of all EU countries for a joint debt mechanism to fund the package.

However, he said differences remained over whether to distribute funds in the form of grants to the hardest-hit countries like Italy or via loans, as supported by the so-called “Frugal Four” group of countries.

“I think there are nuances between the so-called Frugals group,” he said, seeing “room for manoeuvre” in negotiations.

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EurActiv, 18 Jun 2020: France sees possible EU recovery fund deal in July