The EU confirmed on July 22 that they had agreed on their 750 billion euro recovery package to help those hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. However the plan was majorly altered due to debt fears from the so-called frugal four (Austria, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark), resulting in a cap on their overall contributions to the EU budget. Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout expressed his frustration at the amendments, warning the frugal states to “rethink their priorities”.
In the EU Parliament, he said: “I would really like to use my minute to address the frugals in the council.
“All our political families have our issues and we really have to be fair on that.
“But the question to the frugals would be: what were you thinking?
“Ten years after the Euro crisis when there is finally momentum for a public investment plan, you want to cut it.”
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Mr Eickhout added: “A health crisis hitting Europe everywhere? Let’s cut the EU for health programme.
“A seven-year EU budget investing in our next decade? Let’s cut the budget for research.
“The next big crisis, be it climate change? Let’s cut the transition fund.
“The European values being challenged everywhere? Let’s kick the rule of law can down the road again.”
The significant increase in rebates is what is being used to cap the frugal four’s overall contributions.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that the deal was a “good result” for the EU and Austria.
French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the final package as “a historic change of our Europe and eurozone”.
German leader Angela Merkel told reporters she was “very happy” with the deal and felt “relieved”.
The talks had taken place over the last weekend, extending through to Sunday because of tense negotiations.