15 May 2020
By Mary Bermingham
Major €2 trillion stimulus package passed by parliament with strong cross party consensus
“The European Parliament has laid down a bold marker for national governments and the EU Commission in that it expects a robust, radical and transformative recovery plan to respond to the Covid 19 pandemic,” said Fianna Fáil MEP, Billy Kelleher.
Kelleher, a member of the centrist Renew Europe political group, was commenting as the European Parliament adopted, by a large majority, a resolution calling for a larger EU budget and major recovery fund, funded through EU Commission borrowing, to respond to the crisis.
“This plan, expected to be at least €2 trillion, will help pull the 27 national economies out of recession, and importantly help speed the transition to a greener, more sustainable world,” said the Ireland South MEP.
“This must be new money. We cannot have a repeat of previous Commission recovery plans that used accounting tricks to make the funds look bigger. The EU Commission, as I have previously called for, must secure the funding on the private markets and not rely on Member State contributions.
“My position, and the position of my group, is that the majority of this €2 billion fund must be made up of grants, and not loans. We need to see hard cash getting to the beneficiaries as quickly and cost-effectively as possible
“This is a major breakthrough. Five political groups, representing the broad spectrum of political support in the parliament, coming together to pass a plan that sends a clear and radical message to the European Council and Commission that more of the same is simply not acceptable.
“This isn’t a perfect resolution. My group, like the other four, had to compromise. For example, I would have preferred if a strong link were clearly outlined between rule of law requirements and MFF funding.
“However, citizens don’t want ideological squabbles. They want action. They need results. They need action. If the European economy is to get out of the crisis it is in, then we need major investment.
“This resolution is the basis of such an investment plan. I am calling on the EU Commission, and the 27 national governments, including our own Irish government, to take up this challenge to be bold, and to be radical,” concluded Kelleher.
Renew Europe is the centrist and liberal group in the European Parliament. Fianna Fáil MEPs are members of this join. It’s core aims are: prosperity, democracy, rule of law, human rights and freedom.