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21st July 2020 | Press Releases

Cuffe welcomes EU leaders’ agreement, but regrets lack of ambition on EU recovery package and budget

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Earlier today the European Council reached agreement on the European Union’s long-term budget and a recovery fund aimed at helping economies bounce back from the impact of Covid-19. Green MEP for Dublin Ciarán Cuffe says the deal is disappointing and does not match the scale of the challenge the EU faces, both in terms of the economic impact of Covid-19, nor of the unfolding climate emergency.

EU leaders have agreed to a recovery fund of €750 billion but while the Commission had proposed that €500 billion of this sum be distributed in the form of grants, with the rest taking the form of loans, the agreement by leaders foresees only €390 billion in the form of grants. Loans will only add to the public debt of the countries most affected by Covid-19, such as Italy and Spain. Leaders also agreed their position on the multiannual financial framework, which will be reduced in size compared to the 2014-2020 budget and which the European Parliament will have to approve or reject.

Green Party MEP for Dublin Ciarán Cuffe said: ‘’It is disappointing that leaders failed to address the twin challenge of a global pandemic and a climate emergency with the resources that are needed. Instead a small number of countries have decided that electoral politics back home matter more than EU solidarity. Poorer countries will play the price for populist politics in wealthier nations. In countries such as the Netherlands the populism of controversial figures such as Geert Wilders casts a long shadow, clearly impacting on Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s fiscal conservatism.

‘’We needed an enormous package to deal with the challenges facing us, one that makes the European Green Deal a reality and creates the new jobs needed for those most affected by the pandemic. The European Parliament meets on Thursday. We will continue to make our concerns known on the long-term budget in order to show EU leaders that only through serious ambition at EU level can we secure a fair and sustainable recovery.

“I am pleased that Ireland has secured €5 Bn. to deal with the impact of Brexit, but greater ambition is still needed on research, health and securing a Just Transition.”