European Council President Charles Michel offered a revised plan for the EU’s proposed economic recovery fund on Saturday to break a deadlock between the bloc’s 27 leaders on the second day of a summit in Brussels, according to a document, diplomats and officials.
To assuage concerns by the northern camp of thrifty EU countries led by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the share of free grants in the proposed 750 billion euro recovery fund would be reduced to 450 billion euros from 500 billion.
This, along with plans for an ’emergency brake’ on disbursement of funds, would appease wealthy northern states who want conditions attached to grants and would prefer to see those countries worst affected by the coronavirus crisis take loans.
The proposal would also increase rebates on the core EU budget for Austria, Denmark and Sweden.
A new proposal on the EU’s coronavirus economic recovery fund is “a serious step in the right direction”, a Dutch diplomat said after demands from The Netherlands left the EU struggling to narrow differences over the proposed mass stimulus.
“In the end this is a package and there are many more issues to solve. But the proposals on governance as put forward by (European Council President Charles) Michel is a serious step in the right direction. Many issues remain and whether we get there will depend on the next 24 hours,” the diplomat said.