The conference was canceled without result. Everyone agreed on one thing: the sanctions against Russia should remain.
United against Russia, disagreement over reconstruction: after only four hours, the 27 heads of state and government of the EU gave up their first attempt on Friday to agree on an anti-crisis program and a new seven-year budget. The video conference was terminated without results because the positions were still too far apart. “The bridges that we still have to build are large,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The EU leaders were only able to agree on the extension of the economic sanctions against Russia enacted in 2014.
EU Council President Charles Michel announced that a new summit would be organized in mid-July – as a “real” physical meeting in Brussels. Until then, Michel wants to explore possible compromises.
Merkel supported the EU Commission’s proposal to raise up to €750 billion in debt to finance the reconstruction after the corona crisis. The Chancellor also criticized the plan of her party friend Ursula von der Leyen. The calculation basis for EU aid is questionable. Von der Leyen is based on data from 2019 – i.e. before the corona crisis. The repayment of the debt, which is planned from 2028, is also too late, said Merkel. In addition, it is important for Germany to get a discount on its EU contribution again.
This is also demanded by the “miserly four” from the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark. Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was willing to compromise when it came to video switching. He no longer completely ruled out subsidies to crisis-hit countries like Italy. So a little bit has moved.