German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is outraged with European Council President Charles Michel’s proposal for the next Multi-annual Financial Framework. The minister claimed Mr Michel’s ideas are unlikely to be approved by his Social Democratic Party, the German finance ministry, or the federal government. As well as Germany, the so-called ‘Frugal Four’ of Austria, Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden are also unhappy with the proposals.
Mr Scholz is in Brussels for a meeting with his colleagues from eurozone countries.
He said there are “far too few modern policies” such as border management to research in Mr Michel’s proposal.
The Finance Minister suggested the plans to tie the disbursement of funds to respect the rule of law fall short.
He said: “There are setbacks compared to earlier proposals.
“This is unacceptable.”
Mr Scholz added there “is still a lot to be done”.
He also called for a “reset” of the negotiations box.
The Finance Minister claimed this was “so that the issues for the future are more central.”
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Mr Scholz’s comments were echoed by Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya .
She claimed Mr Michel’s budget proposal “is not sufficient for an agreement”.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki argued cohesion is good for those who can afford to spend it.
Writing in Germany’s Welt newspaper, he said: “Every euro invested between 2007 and 2013 under the cohesion policy increased the gross national product by €2.74.
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“Every euro spent on cohesion policy in the countries of the Visegrád Group, i.e. in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, brought in €3.31 in Austria, €1.50 in Germany and €1.45 in the Netherlands.”
He added: “Nobody will deny that an ambitious Europe needs an ambitious budget.
“If we refrain from honest discussions and exchange our European openness for too much caution, we will set ourselves a trap.
“I would therefore like to say from the bottom of my heart that there is nothing that can be a better basis for a bold European design than a good budget.”
Mr Morawiecki continued: “We must set up our budget so that we have a Union that is at the forefront of new technologies and that strengthens the four fundamental freedoms, especially the freedom to provide services.
“We must not argue about transfers or supposed alimony, because, as I said, even those who give benefit.
“Europe needs an economic system based on solidarity.”
One diplomat said after Monday’s session “it’s increasingly difficult to see a compromise emerge this summit”.
They added a consensus was “as rare as sun in a Brussels February.”
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