Czech PM slams EC recovery plan as overly generous and unfair
The European Commission’s 750 billion euro recovery plan, which would use an unprecedented scale of joint debt incurred by the bloc's 27 member countries, is expected to provoke a fierce debate among EU leaders. The immediate reaction from Prague has been a thumbs down from the prime minister, but also calls for solidarity from others.
According to the proposal, a third of the aid would go to help Italy and Spain – the countries most affected by the pandemic. The Czech Republic would get almost 20 billion euros from the recovery fund. In his first reaction to the details disclosed, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš criticized both the size of the budget as “excessive” and the criteria according to which aid would be allocated.
“These conditions are absolutely unacceptable for us. They benefit EU members with high unemployment and penalise fiscally disciplined EU member states with a low unemployment rate. This would put us at a great disadvantage.”
The prime minister argued that the sum of 750 billion euros, by which the Commission is proposing to raise the budget, is excessive saying that the European Union should borrow only funds lost by the economic drop caused by the new coronavirus and should keep the proportion of funding to individual member states intact.
The prime minister’s arguments were echoed by the opposition Civic Democrats, but others stressed the need for solidarity, on the argument that it would benefit the country in the long run. Parliament deputy Marian Ferjenčik from the Pirate Party said EU members would have to reach a compromise.
As we see it, the aid to Spain and Italy will help revive the European economy, which in turn will benefit our exporters. And we have to admit, the states of Central Europe still get more money per capita than some others.”
The debate over the proposal will continue on a bilateral and multilateral platform. It is expected to be high on the agenda of Czech-Slovak talks when the Slovak prime minister, Igor Matovič, visits Prague next Wednesday and will dominate a scheduled Visegrad summit in Brno on June 11.