km. In the early morning hours of 21 July 2020 the European Council – this is the EU body that unites state and government heads of the 27 EU member states – agreed on a common final declaration comprising 67 pages after negotiating for four days and four nights. The focus was – under the specification to negotiate how to react o the Corona-crisis – on the union’s financial planning the in the coming seven years and the so-called development aid for EU states that had been particularly affected by the Covid19 crisis. After long and controversial debates the heads of states and governments consented to a financial plan (Next Generation EU) amounting to 750 billion euro until the end of 2026, in order to finance „massive public and private investments at the European level”, and “at the same time to advance the priorities of the EU with reference to the green and digital transition.
For the first time in history “the Commission will be authorised to borrow funds on behalf of the Union on the capital markets”.
360 billion are provided for the EU states in form of credits (it was 250 billion in the original plan.) Financial aid that does not have to be repaid amounts to 390 billlion (500 billion in the original plan). The limit in the years 2021 to 2027 was fixed to 1074,3 billion Euro, which means that in the coming years a volume of about 1,8 trillion Euro are to be spent.
“We have negotiated four long days and nights. But it was worth it. The result is a signal of confidence in Europe, and it is an historic moment for Europe,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said at a joint press conference with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, early in the morning of 21 July. The fact that the protracted EU summit was primarily about money, a lot of money ... and about extended powers for the EU Commission in the direction of the EU state is not so clear from such cloudy wording. It’s not, mind you, the money of the heads of state and government or the money of the EU commissioners that was decided on, but the taxpayers’ money. First it means more debts, and above all new debts. But at some point a bill will be presented for it, even if it is not the honest repayment. [And how the EU Commission’s commitment to the rule of law], not to mention its democratic legitimacy, is also written in the stars. The EU and its institutions can perhaps celebrate, but for the citizens of Europe this is questionable. And how wise and reasonable is it to reduce solidarity and mutual assistance in Europe to the idea that billions of euros should flow – and also for programmes with an ideological slant? •
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