Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (10 November) on the agreement reached between the German Council Presidency and the European Parliament negotiating team:

Getting Europe’s economic recovery underway is a mammoth task which we assumed along with our Council Presidency. Today we took a huge step towards achieving this goal. This is a ray of hope for the economy and society in Europe.

As the Council Presidency, we have done everything possible to accommodate the demands of the European Parliament. This package contains clear arrangements for the introduction of new own resources and places a clear focus on forward-looking expenditures such as climate change mitigation and digitisation.

The whole of Europe is waiting increasingly impatiently for the coronavirus recovery package. The money must, at long last, reach those who urgently need it: the millions of people and businesses in Europe in jeopardy as a result of the pandemic. All political leaders and decision-makers in Europe must now act promptly to complete the remaining steps of this process. The second wave of the pandemic means that we cannot afford to lose any more time.

Background information:

Today’s fundamental political agreement was reached following intensive consultations with the European Parliament and European Commission since the end of August. The agreed package meets the demands of the European Parliament in many respects:

  • At 1.8 trillion euro, its volume is unprecedented in the history of the European Union. Today’s agreement makes available further additional funds for the spending priorities stipulated by the European Parliament, for example for research promotion or the Erasmus Programme.
  • It sets a clear focus on future-oriented areas such as climate change mitigation, digitisation, biodiversity and many other spending priorities designated by the European Parliament.
  • It contains clear arrangements for the introduction of the new own resources called for by the European Parliament.

However, the agreement reached today is not the last step in the envisaged process. Still needed, among other things, are:

  • The approval of a majority of the members of the European Parliament for the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF);
  • Unanimous Council decisions on the MFF and the Own Resources Decision, i.e. the legal basis for the financing of Next Generation EU (NGEU);
  • Ratification of the Own Resources Decision in all EU member states.

Only when all these steps have been completed can the agreed funds from the recovery programme actually be disbursed.