11 votes

European Union no closer to agreeing COVID economic recovery plan

3 comments

  1. [2]
    Death
    Link
    I've been nervously watching this from the sidelines, simply agreeing to provide financial aid to the hardest hit countries would be political suicide for any Dutch politician at this point, but...

    Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte led the thrifty camp of northern, wealthy states including Denmark, Austria, Finland and Sweden, facing off against Germany, France, the ailing southerners Italy and Spain, as well as Poland and eastern peers.

    “If they want loans and even grants then I think it’s only logical that I can explain to people in the Netherlands...that in return those reforms have taken place,” Rutte said, in estimating chances for a deal at a modest fifty-fifty.

    I've been nervously watching this from the sidelines, simply agreeing to provide financial aid to the hardest hit countries would be political suicide for any Dutch politician at this point, but I'm deeply worried this is creating more internal mistrust and damaging European relations.

    Orban - who stands accused by critics of tightening the noose around media, academics and NGOs - threatened to veto the entire plan over a new mechanism envisaged to freeze out countries undercutting democratic standards.

    This will probably destroy any chances of the EU actually forcing member-states to follow it's human rights obligations, leaving the door open for the Polish persecution of LGBT+ people to continue after the last election. I hate playing the cynic but we might be in for a rough times.

    6 votes
    1. arp242
      Link Parent
      It's not really about "political suicide", it's just a difference between how the countries are run and general cultural attitudes towards things like finances. The essential disagreement is that...

      simply agreeing to provide financial aid to the hardest hit countries would be political suicide for any Dutch politician at this point, but I'm deeply worried this is creating more internal mistrust and damaging European relations.

      It's not really about "political suicide", it's just a difference between how the countries are run and general cultural attitudes towards things like finances.

      The essential disagreement is that the Italian government has been ignoring EU Euro budget rules for a long time. To quote one minister: "Italians come first ... Italy no longer wants to be a servant to silly rules", and other responses have been even less constructive. No one is really against giving money to Italy, but ... they've also resisted any and all conditions attached to that and essentially want "free money". If you consider the context of protracted fight over Italy's finances that's been going on for years, then it's not hard to see how some countries are hesitant. Like all relationships, it needs to be a two-way street, and cries for unity and solidarity strike me as hollow and meaningless words here considering there has been very little coming of that coming from their side for years.

      If you look at it superficially then "Northern states refuse to help out southern states amid pandemic" sounds really bad and selfish for the northern states, but what are we supposed to do? IMO saying "hey, sure, have money! But please also agree to do these things you should already be doing" really isn't that unreasonable.

      I don't know the specifics of other countries, but a few months ago it was mostly about Italian resistance against the proposed plans.

      And yeah, I agree about the internal mistrust and damaging European relations; but I'm not sure what else to do. We desperately need some sort of long-term vision for Europe.

      4 votes
  2. ohyran
    Link

    “The opinions on the size of the recovery fund are diametrically different,” Babis told reporters as the leaders took a break in their all-day talks. “We will see if we even get to some agreement today, I rather think that we will not.”
    “So far I don’t have the feeling we are getting closer to an agreement, I rather have the opposite feeling.”

    1 vote