German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday called on the Europeans to take courageous reforms before she discussed with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte the European Union's post pandemic recovery fund.
Aid not linked to reforms or an orientation not towards the future would ultimately not help, Merkel said at the joint press conference with Rutte before their meeting.
Merkel added that after the crisis it will be obvious who can really guarantee people's prosperity - something that is only possible with a competitive, sustainable economy.
Rutte said the coronavirus pandemic had done great damage, therefore it was very important that they tackle this shock that Europe has suffered together. Germany and the Netherlands could only go on well if the whole European Union were doing well.
When it comes to the EU recovery fund, Rutte said the fund was very important, "but it is also important that such a fund is carried out together with reforms, so that all EU member states are strong, so that such a fund is not even necessary in the event of a next shock."
The 750-billion-euro recovery fund proposed by the European Commission will be composed of 500 billion euros as grants and 250 billion as loans from the open market. However, the Netherlands, along with Austria, Denmark and Sweden, only wants to grant the funds in the form of loans, which are also to be linked to economic reforms.
The European Council will convene a special summit on July 17 to 18, when the member states are expected to reach a consensus on the recovery plan.
Italy, Spain and Croatia are the three most affected countries in the EU by the coronavirus crisis, according to a European Commission report released on Tuesday. ■
Post-Tropical Cyclone Ian has fully dissipated overnight but the extratropical remnants of the storm will continue to bring widespread showers and storms to the Mid-Atlantic and central Appalachians due to onshore flow on the northern side of the system.