Brussels splintering: Germany lashes out at EU Parliament in huge budget row

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Angela Merkel’s ambassador to the European Union called for urgency in finalising the €1.8 trillion package. Michael Clauss said he was “very concerned” at the current pace of progress being made in the talks between the European Council and Parliament. His warning came after a number of influential MEPs had threatened to veto the bloc’s pandemic fund and long-term budget in a bid to secure concessions from European capitals.

In a statement, Mr Clauss said: “We urgently need an agreement on the package consisting of the Multiannual Financial Framework and the Recovery Fund.

“The Multiannual Financial Framework and the Recovery Fund are politically and technically inseparable.

“Without a rapid overall agreement between the Council and the European Parliament on the Multiannual Financial Framework, we run the risk of delaying the Reconstruction Fund as well.

“Time is pressing; Europe needs to keep its word to support the people and regions particularly affected by the Corona crisis as quickly as possible.”

The negotiations must be concluded before the end of the year to allow MEPs to rubber-stamp the package before it is able to come into force.

Earlier this summer EU leaders agreed a €750 billion recovery fund for pandemic-stricken industries and regions in addition to a €1.1 trillion budget to support the bloc between 2021-2027.

MEPs fear the coronavirus fund could fall into the hands of rule-breakers, such as Poland and Hungary, without proper protections.

But Mr Clauss insisted Germany, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, is working on a mechanism to tie the release of money to rule of law.

He said: “I am very concerned that the negotiations are currently progressing too slowly.

“We need to increase the pace of the negotiations significantly.”

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And in a dig at parliamentary intransigence, the German ambassador said MEPs had been offered the opportunity to continue talks through weekends.

He added: “On the question of the rule of law mechanism, we are in intensive talks with the EU member states. The negotiations are extremely complicated. However, the German Council Presidency will soon present a proposal for adoption by the Council.

“In order to move the negotiations forward, we have already shown ourselves willing to compromise.”

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Parliament representatives have also raised concerns about the size of the package, insisting it should be bigger to help deliver on more ambitious projects.

The long-term budget was slashed in size during an acrimonious EU leadership summit in Brussels earlier this summer.

MEPs are now calling for another €110 billion to be added to the pot in the three-way budgetary negotiations.

In exchange for their support, the Euro politicians want governments to spend more cash on research and development.

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