Tempers fray at coronavirus summit

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron said they are willing to walk away from a summit of EU leaders, as they arrived at the third day of a long and acrimonious debate on the terms of a €750bn (£682bn) pandemic recovery fund

The EU has fallen into an abys where the funding for the coronavirus pandemic recovery is regarded.

In a massive split between the northern and southern states as well as the eastern and western ones.   The French president and the German chancellor have both made it clear that patience is wareing thin on the subject despite there being a serious crisis in the economic state of the bloc.

Angela Merkel said: “We are going into the third day of negotiations today and it is certainly the decisive one, At this point, we’ve properly worked through various issues including the size of the fund, how it is managed and also issues regarding the rule of law. I still can’t tell if there will be a solution.

“There’s lots of goodwill, but there are also many positions,” she added. “That’s why I will be among those pushing for an agreement, but it is also possible that there will be no result today.”

While Macron told reporters:  “I believe it is still possible. But these compromises, and I say it very clearly, will not be done at the expense of European ambition.”

The basic problem is that the 27 states cannot come to a decision as to who has to pay into the fund, how much should be paid into the fund, and who will get what from the fund in the form of grants or loans.

While the Polish Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated in public that he thought The Netherlands, Austria Denmark and Sweden were ‘misers’ and the Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said: that the Dutch were trying to re-write the rules of the EU because they wanted to Veto the disbursement of emergency funds.

The Dutch Prime minister Mark Rutte at one point walked out of the negotiations citing his frustration at the attempts of the Northern states to reduce the overall size of the recovery fund.

Charles Michel, the president of the European council, was forced to table a new set of proposals on Saturday morning.   His proposals were that the level of funds would be reduced from €500bn initially proposed to €450bn.

The Northern states want the funding reduced even more, causing irritation from Merkel and Macron.

Viktor Orbán, the prime minister of Hungary, accused Rutte of behaving like communists dealing with dissidents.  He said: “They would like to introduce a new mechanism that didn’t exist until now”, he told reporters. “I think it is questionable whether it has a basis in the treaty at all. I am coming from an ex-communist country. When the communist regime decided to attack us they use unclarified legal terms exactly the same as written in the proposal of the Dutch man… Saying general deficiencies. When I was arrested by the police and I asked them what I have done which is illegal they say general efficiencies. What the F#*k does it mean?”

The bottom line is that cracks are appearing in the EU, there is genuine concern at the top echelons of the bloc that this is just a forerunner to a really tough time in the future, especially since the UK has left and will tie up the loose ends of the negotiations for Brexit at the end of the year.

The writing may be on the wall for the bloc in general, and with more and more states finding themselves at odds with each other things like recovery funding, border control, and the ill fated EU army,  we may see countries like Poland, Hungary, Portugal, and Italy looking to leave the bloc sooner rather than later.

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Written by

Mark T Connor

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