EU row erupts: Furious Parliament warns leaders MEPs could VETO £1.6trillion deal

The Parliament’s budget negotiators raised deep concerns with the proposals signed off by EU leaders after an acrimonious five-day summit ended yesterday. After hours of bitter wrangling, they agreed on a £676billion coronavirus recovery fund and a £1trillion, seven-year budget to help deliver aid to the EU’s worst hit industries and regions. The recovery fund would see the Commission borrow £676 billion on the international markets.

Eurocrats would then distribute £351billion as grants and £327billion as low-cost loans.

In order for the vast financial package to take effect, MEPs must first rubber-stamp the proposals.

But when the results of the summit are debated in the Parliament tomorrow, there is no certainty MEPs will instantly show their support.

Johan Van Overtveldt, chairman of its budget committee, said: “Parliament cannot accept the proposed record low ceilings as they mean renouncing to the EU’s long-term objectives and strategic autonomy, while citizens ask for more.

“More European solidarity, more European action in public health, in research and digitalisation, youth, and in the historical fight against climate change. Key programmes to reach these objectives have been considerably shrunk, and lost most of their top-ups under Next Generation EU.”

“The compromise is also a flagrant missed opportunity when it comes to modernising the revenue side, making it fairer and more transparent,” he added, with the support of five other MEPs.

“The EU is now allowed to borrow funds but there is no certainty on how the debt will be repaid. Parliament has been clear: the recovery should not reduce investment capacities nor harm the national taxpayer. This is why new genuine own resources are the solution to repay the common debt, but the plastic-based contribution will not do the trick alone!”

The Parliament’s budget negotiators insisted they were ready to enter into fresh talks with the European Council and Parliament to fix the flaws.

Talks could be dragged on into next year with legislation already in place to give the bloc a temporary budget, they added.

“If our conditions are not sufficiently met we will adopt the programmes on the basis of the existing MFF, as foreseen by the Treaty,” they said.

The Parliament’s main political groups have also stated they oppose the backroom deal reached by EU governments this week.

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The deal was struck during the bloc’s longest-ever single summit negotiations, which saw many bitter rows erupt between member states.

The acrimony of the summit is expected to linger as EU governments attempt to stop Germany and France dominating the bloc’s agenda after Brexit.

But the Parliament is also wrestling for more influence after being somewhat sidelined during the defining negotiation.

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