EU needs a more ambitious Covid recovery plan, French minister says

Photo: EPA French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune

The EU must shoot for a more ambitious Covid-19 recovery plan than the landmark €750bn stimulus agreed last summer after the epidemic’s first wave, French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said on Sunday, Reuters reported. In an interview on LCI television Beaune said Europe must not repeat errors made after the global financial crisis a decade ago and this time should underpin the recovery with investment, in fifth-generation (5G) wireless networks, green and digital technologies, among others.

Asked how much would be needed, minister said: “No doubt something like a doubling (of the existing fund). “The economic response has to be more ambitious,” he pointed out.

Beaune said he hoped the EU’s 27 member states would ratify the recovery fund by May and that the €750bn would be available from the summer. France is due to receive €40bn under the scheme.

EU governments are still submitting detailed spending plans for their share of the pot, and frustration is growing in Paris and some other capitals at the slow speed of disbursing the money.

In an interview published on Saturday, European Council President Charles Michel said he did not share the view held by some that the EU’s recovery fund was insufficient when compared with the US spending plan.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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