Ratas: EU recovery fund agreement not yet reached
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said European Union negotiations regarding the long-term EU budget and the economic recovery plan are extremely complicated and an agreement is nowhere in sight.
Speaking on Sunday, Ratas said it's very important that an agreement is reached because it will bring security and send a message to the member states. "Whether this is conceivable or not, it will require many states to make big compromises and, at the moment, an agreement hasn't been reached," he said.
"When it comes to the size of the recovery plan, there are the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark on one hand who don't find it possible to contribute that much [financially] into the recovery plan and on the other hand, there are states that are saying it is very important for economic recovery, it's important to send a signal, it's important for Estonians and other people in the EU states to give security and contribute to the consequences that the coronavirus crisis has brought," Ratas said.
"Is Estonia satisfied with the offer that the President of the Council made last night? I think this is a place where we can move on from these negotiations to reach the end in the near future. But as of today, it can already be said that this offer is no longer is valid because it has been taken off the table by other countries," Ratas noted.
The current proposals also include contributing more of Estonia's own resources, such as in the form of plastic taxes, which the state has never supported.
Ratas said it will be necessary to look at this package in its final form and that all member states will need to consult with governments before an agreement is reached.
"I have done this here on an ongoing basis and I will certainly do so before the final agreement," said: "In conclusion, the proportionality of that agreement must be taken into account. Estonia already set its goals in February, it was important for us that the agreement be fair, as fast as possible, where there were connections, where there were rural subsidies."
However, Ratas said the plastic tax may not be the final obstacle. "The question is what will the final offer on the table be at the end of the day. We don't know that yet," he said.
The European Commission adopted its first proposal for the EU's long-term budget, the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework package, on May 2, 2018.
To respond to the economic and social fallout of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Commission proposed a revamped long-term EU budget on May 27, 2020.
The proposal includes an emergency recovery instrument, Next Generation EU, to help repair the immediate damage brought by the coronavirus pandemic and kick-start the recovery.
The Commission's proposal is a seven-year EU budget of €1,850 billion.
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Editor: Roberta Vaino