Covid-19. Historic European Council reaches agreement on fifth day

Approved“, wrote the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in a post on the social network Twitter.

The decision came at 5:30 am (local time, minus one in Lisbon), minutes after the heads of state and government of the European Union (EU) resumed, this morning in Brussels, the formal work on 27, after arduous negotiations in the the last few days to close the European economic recovery plan based on the 2021-2027 budget and the Recovery Fund.

Started last Friday morning, this European Council dedicated to Europe‘s economic recovery plan in the face of the covid-19 crisis is one of the longest summits in the history of the EU, and has not barely broken the record set in Nice in 2000 , which lasted for five days and lasted for more than 90 hours.

Approved at this historic meeting was the global proposal presented to the fourth day of negotiations by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, providing for a budget for 2021-2027 of 1.074 billion euros and a Recovery Fund of 750 billion, with just over half in grants.

From the Recovery Fund, 390 billion euros will then be allocated in grants (non-refundable transfers) and the remaining 360 billion in the form of a loan.
In order to please the so-called “frugal” countries, the total amount of subsidies has dropped considerably, compared to the 500 billion euros initially proposed.What stays for Portugal
Portugal may raise more than 15 billion euros in non-refundable transfers under this fund, according to the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, an amount similar to what was already foreseen, this despite the substantial decrease (in about 20%) in the amount to be granted to Member States in grants.

Regarding the Union’s Multiannual Financial Framework, the budget for the next seven years, Charles Michel was based on the proposal that he put forward last February – and which was not endorsed by the 27 at the time -, but with some changes, taking into account the economic impact of the covid-19 crisis, while maintaining major community priorities.

The 27 also reached a compromise on the relationship between the granting of EU funding and respect for the rule of law, whose conditionalities initially addressed were strongly criticized by Hungary and Poland, two countries that have been targeted by Brussels for alleged violations of democratic principles.

Now, the document says only that “the European Council stresses the importance of respecting the rule of law”, noting that “the Union’s financial interests are protected in accordance with the general principles enshrined in the Treaties”.

Reactions to the agreement

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, considered that the post-crisis recovery package for the covid-19 community economy now approved is “a strong agreement“, which shows that Europe is” solid “, sending” a sign of confidence “.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the agreement “is a unique opportunity to modernize Europe“.

The German chancellor argued that the agreement reveals a “United europe“in a scenario that required” extraordinary responses

French President Emmanuel Macron said that with the post-crisis covid 19 economic recovery agreement approved at the European Council this is “a historic day for Europe“.

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