German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has welcomed the renewed extension of the EU summit in Brussels to agree on a COVID-19 crisis package and called for solidarity among all EU member states.
“It is important that negotiations continue in Brussels today. It shows that everyone wants a solution instead of putting off the problem,” Maas said here Monday. But the necessary extension also showed that “enormous efforts” were required to make Europe strong again together, he added.
The heads of state and government of the 27 EU member states had again extended their negotiations during the night to Monday local time. The summit is to continue on Monday afternoon.
The EU summit is seeking an agreement on a financial and crisis package of more than 1.8 trillion euros (2.06 trillion U.S. dollars). 750 billion euros would be a debt-financed economic and investment program to combat the coronavirus crisis while the new seven-year EU budget framework would provide more than one trillion euros.
“The solidarity of all states among themselves will pay off for all,” said Maas. However, not all EU member states were in agreement.
Leaders of the “thrifty” countries Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark, as well as Finland, still had reservations about the subsidies and wanted to further reduce the sums. They would prefer to give only repayable loans to countries such as Italy and Spain, which were particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis.
“Europe’s word carries the most weight in the world if we all act in unison. This is not only important in the coronavirus crisis, but also with regard to Europe’s neighborhood and is in our immediate strategic interest,” said Maas.