European Cohesion Commissioner Elisa Ferreira reacted this morning to the impasse at the European Council, posting graphics on Twitter to demystify the idea that the main net contributors make a huge sacrifice for the EU budget.
With the leaders’ summit devoted to Europe‘s economic recovery plan to enter the fourth day without the prospect of an agreement, due to the blockade of the self-styled ‘frugal’ countries (Holland, Austria, Sweden and Denmark), the Portuguese commissioner , responsible for the Cohesion and Reforms portfolio, published four charts, accompanied only by the comment that “a chart is worth a thousand hours of negotiations”.
One graph shows how “the benefits of the single market largely outweigh the cost of contributing to the EU budget”, another gathers Eurostat data on the value of exports from each Member State to another EU country, a third compares public spending from Germany, Holland, Denmark and Sweden with the size of the Community budget, and finally, a fourth table reveals the countries of the Union where the most hours are worked per week.
One graphic is worth one thousand negotiating hours pic.twitter.com/KRY3ndyAxa
– Elisa Ferreira (@ElisaFerreiraEC) July 19, 2020
In the analysis of the tables, it is clear that the four ‘frugal’ are the countries that benefit the most from the single market, earning incomparably more than what they are asked to contribute to the Union budget 2021-2027, which the Netherlands won more than € 400 billion in exports to other Member States, whereas public expenditure in Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands varies between 51.1% of GDP and 43.3% (when these countries consider a multiannual budget of Union above 1.07% of the wealth of the 27) and, finally, that Greece tops the list of 10 countries where most hours work, and which also includes Portugal (and no ‘frugal’).
Heads of State and Government continue to meet in Brussels in search of an agreement on the next budgetary framework for 2021-2027 and the Recovery Fund, the pillars of the European economic recovery plan to overcome the covid-19 crisis, but according to different diplomatic sources, the ‘frugal’ countries, with Holland and Austria at the head, have made a compromise unfeasible, by constantly calling for cuts and increases in their benefits.
After Sunday’s working dinner, the president of the European Council interrupted the meeting “for 45 minutes”, according to his spokesman’s announcement, but after more than three hours the 27th plenary session has not yet resumed, continuing consultations on the sidelines in a final attempt to pave the way for an agreement.
This European Council started on Friday morning.