The four countries are calling on Saturday to set up a temporary, one-off emergency fund. Badly hit EU countries can apply for a loan from this fund for a maximum of two years to overcome the corona crisis.
Concrete amounts are not yet mentioned in the proposal. First, they want the European Commission to map out exactly how much money is needed for recovery, sources from The Hague report to RTL Z. Affected countries that want money must come up with a recovery plan themselves.
It is emphatically not about gifts, something the two most powerful EU member states Germany and France want. They came on Monday with their plan for an economic recovery package of 500 billion euros. If it is up to German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron, that emergency support will not have to be repaid.
Another tricky issue is joint debt. Germany and France want loans to be made on behalf of the EU in the capital markets in the near future. The 27 EU member states must use their ‘joint weight’ to borrow money, Macron said.
Resistance to joint debt
But the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark – which have been nicknamed ‘miserly four’ – continue to defend themselves against this. The new counter-proposal strongly states that European aid should not lead to ‘mutualisation of debts’.
Nor do the four countries want to contribute any extra money to the EU’s multi-annual budget. They want this budget to continue for seven years and for the two-year recovery fund to temporarily run alongside it.
Enzo Amendola, the Italian Minister of European Affairs, calls the proposal in a first reaction ‘defensive and insufficient’. According to him, the European Commission should show ‘more courage’ at the meeting on the recovery plans next week.