rutte-calls-for-‘sparing’-use-of-eu-funds-ahead-of-budget-summit

Rutte calls for ‘sparing’ use of EU funds ahead of budget summit

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte | Adam Berry/Getty Images

Rutte calls for ‘sparing’ use of EU funds ahead of budget summit

The EU’s two longest-serving leaders meet in Berlin to discuss recovery fund.

By

7/9/20, 9:17 PM CET

Updated 7/9/20, 9:19 PM CET

BERLIN — The EU must use its budget and coronavirus recovery funding “sparingly,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned before a working dinner with Germany’s Angela Merkel Thursday and a budget summit next week.

“It is important that such a fund is implemented together with [structural] reforms so that all EU member states are strong,” Rutte said at a brief press conference with the German chancellor.

“We definitely emphasize that the EU has to use money sparingly … We do not want the net contribution [to the EU budget] to rise as a result of Brexit and the corona crisis.”

The EU’s two longest-serving leaders are meeting in Berlin as part of efforts to broker a deal at next week’s summit of heads of state and government on the bloc’s planned recovery fund and long-term budget, a package totaling €1.85 trillion. It’s just one of a frenzied round of bilateral visits by national leaders ahead of the two-day summit.

“We have to vote unanimously, so because of that, I think tonight’s meeting is very important,” Merkel said during her own brisk business-like statement before she began evening talks with Rutte.

Finding a consensus on plans to offer up to €500 billion in joint debt between EU countries is set to be a challenge.

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