Dear colleagues, I am looking forward to our videoconference on Friday 19 June 2020.
The central theme of the meeting will be the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Recovery Plan. It will be the first time we discuss the package since its publication on 28 May. A lot of work has been done in the Council to help prepare the ground and to allow all delegations to get a clear understanding of the various parts of the proposal. It is now time for the members of the European Council to discuss the package in depth.
I think we are all aware of the complexity of the proposals and the time needed to deal with them. Our meeting on Friday should be a crucial stepping stone towards an agreement at a subsequent physical meeting.
I would like us to confirm our understanding on a number of points where I feel a consensus is emerging:
- the EU needs an exceptional response to this unprecedented crisis, commensurate with the magnitude of the challenge;
- the response should be financed through Commission borrowing on the financial markets and, to allow for that, we need to increase the own resources ceiling;
- our effort should be targeted towards the most affected sectors and geographical parts of Europe;
- the next MFF should be adjusted to take account of the crisis and should be considered together with the Recovery Plan;
- the overall package should not just deal with the immediate crisis, but also presents an opportunity to transform and reform our economies and help them embrace a green and digital future.
At the same time, we need to have a constructive and in-depth debate on the elements that require further clarification or where views still need to converge, such as:
- the size and duration of the various elements of the Recovery Plan;
- the best way to allocate the assistance and the issue of loans and grants;
- questions relating to conditionality and governance;
- the size and content of the MFF and its financing, including own resources and rebates.
Our ultimate goal is to reach a deal as soon as possible. There is still quite some way to go towards an agreement, so we will need to work hard in the coming days and weeks. We will succeed if we enter talks with a sense of responsibility and the willingness to come out of this major challenge united and strong.
In relation to the practical running of the meeting, the videoconference will start at 10.00 a.m. with the traditional exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli.
We will then begin our meeting with a short presentation by Prime Minister Plenković on the results of the Croatian Presidency of the Council. I would like to thank him very warmly for his hard work and dedication at a particularly challenging time. After that, Commission President von der Leyen and I will report on the videoconference with the UK Prime Minister held on 15 June. The President of the European Central Bank will then brief us on the economic situation. At the end of the meeting we will briefly touch on the state of play of the implementation of the Minsk agreements.