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Martin Klus: We Welcome the EU’s Economic Recovery Plan but We Demand More Flexible Conditions for Drawing the Funds

Martin Klus: We Welcome the EU’s Economic Recovery Plan but We Demand More Flexible Conditions for Drawing the Funds

18.6.2020 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov

An important online meeting awaits the Heads of State and Government of the European Union on Friday, 19 June 2020. The central theme of the video summit will be the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027 and the EU Economic Recovery Plan which the European Commission presented at the end of May in response to the negative effects of the corona crisis.

 

The package will be discussed for the first time by the top leaders of the member states of the Union, and the meeting should make substantial progress towards reaching a final agreement at the next meeting.

 

In connection with the anticipated Friday video summit of members of the European Council on the EU economic recovery, Martin Klus, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic attended a video conference of ministers and state secretaries for European affairs of the EU countries on Tuesday, 16 June 2020.

 

The aim was to present key national positions on the aid package, which consists of a revised draft of the future EU budget (MFF 2021-2027) and a new recovery instrument called the Next Generation EU. At the same time, the aid package is intended not only to help  the European economy rapidly recover from the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic but also to help develop it by supporting reforms and investments in a long-term perspective.

 

“Slovakia welcomes and supports these ambitious proposals. Our goal in the negotiations will be to push for more flexible conditions for drawing on these funds so that we can invest them in a targeted manner in order to support the development of the Slovak economy, for example in connection with the transition to carbon neutrality or the support of digitalization,” said Martin Klus with regard to the Slovak position. He added that “it is also an opportunity to implement the necessary structural reforms in the areas of public administration, taxation, health care and education.”

 

At the video conference on Tuesday, the topic of relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom was again brought to the attention of the ministers and state secretaries for European affairs. The Vice-President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, gave information about the meeting of the EU-UK Joint Committee at which the British side confirmed its negative disposition towards extending the transition period.

 

Subsequently, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier evaluated the course of the negotiations and the video conference between the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the leaders of the EU institutions held on 15 June 2020. Representatives of the EU member states welcomed the agreement to intensify negotiations during the summer with a view to reaching an agreement as soon as possible and called for the EU’s unity and principled position to be maintained.

 

“The post-Brexit negotiations on our future relations with the United Kingdom have not yet brought the expected progress, and we are beginning to feel the time constraint due to Britain’s refusal to extend the transition period. Both sides should do their utmost to unblock the negotiations in order to reach an ambitious agreement,” concluded Martin Klus. He believes, however, that the agreement “must not undermine the competitiveness of our entrepreneurs or create inequalities or threats on the internal market. This is in the interests of our businesses and consumers.”

 

The Tuesday video conference of the ministers for European affairs was the last under the aegis of the Croatian presidency. The rotating presidency of the EU Council will be taken over on 1 July 2020 by the Federal Republic of Germany, which is part of a new presidency trio, together with Portugal and Slovenia.

 

At the video conference, the trio presented their 18-month agenda, which aims to provide a long-term perspective and ensure the coherent working of the EU Council during this period with the Strategic Agenda of Leaders for 2019-2024 in place.