Following the presentation by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the pledge by the Croatian Council representative Nikolina Brnjac to work with member states to swiftly conclude negotiations with Parliament on the new package, political group leaders took the floor to outline their initial reactions. Click on names to view the individual statements.
“European solidarity is back and we are opening a new chapter for the EU”, Manfred Weber (EPP, DE) said. The new money needs to be spent on fresh ideas and not on Europe’s old problems. “Solidarity goes hand in hand with responsibility”, therefore it must be clear how the money will be paid back, he said, calling for new own resources and for digital giants to pay their part.
Iratxe García Perez (S&D, ES) thanked von der Leyen for an ambitious proposal and for giving the EP “the role it deserves” in the design of the recovery package. Warning that the survival of the European project is at stake, she urged the Council to adopt the new MFF by qualified majority to avoid keeping the EU “hostage by four member states that prefer a national response to a European one”.
“It is a game changer, unprecedented in the history of Europe”, said Dacian Ciolos (Renew, RO). “The MFF and the recovery plan must focus on the future”, with the Green deal and digital agenda as building blocks, he said. “We may differ on some details, but I really welcome the approach”, he said, reminding member states that “the EU is not a cash machine. Solidarity comes with values”.
Jörg Meuthen (ID, DE) rejected the package proposal as “completely wrong and nonsense”, without a proper legal basis and lacking responsibility or economic sense. The Commission wants to spend money “as if there was no tomorrow”. It is a huge price for European taxpayers, he concluded.
Ska Keller (Greens/EFA, DE) urged: “We must not repeat the big mistakes of the past and force countries into austerity and blind market ideologies. Instead, we need to make sure that the money is well invested into projects that will help in the long term, create jobs and save the one planet that we have.”
Johan van Overtveldt (ECR, BE) said: “If we are going to allow loans and grants, there must be clear conditions. The money needs to go to where it is most needed, and there must be safety mechanisms in place for our businesses. People working and saving should not have to “fork out” for these programmes”.
“Instead of making a clean break with past dogmas”, the Recovery Plan stops “midstream” said Manon Aubry (GUE/NGL, FR). Welcoming the new proposals on Own Resources, she called for the crisis debt to be cancelled, for direct perpetual loans to member states, and for public support to be conditional on social considerations.
The Commission has also unveiled its adjusted Work Programme for 2020, which will prioritise the actions needed to propel Europe’s recovery and resilience.
Parliament and Council will discuss the new proposals and decide on their final shape in upcoming negotiations.