(After the final Pk on the Eurogroup, the aid to Greece was added in the 4th paragraph, and in the 5th paragraph a quote from Eurogroup leader Donoho.)
LUXEMBOURG / ATHENS (dpa-AFX) – Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz expects the European corona aid to be launched soon to boost the economic recovery. The joint European action is already having an effect, said the SPD politician on Thursday before consultations with his EU colleagues. It is now in the phase of approving the national development plans. It is important that this go quickly.
The EU Commission was the first to approve the plans of Portugal and Spain on Wednesday. On Thursday, Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen brought positive decisions to Athens and Copenhagen. Greece receives 17.8 billion euros in grants and 12.7 billion euros in loans from the RRF development fund, the heart of the 750 billion euros in Corona aid. Denmark can count on 1.5 billion euros, excluding grants. The first funds should flow in July.
The development program agreed last year is considered an unprecedented feat of strength by the EU. What is new is that debts are taken on on a large scale, some of which are distributed as grants. The member states that have been hardest hit economically in the pandemic receive a particularly large amount of money from the crisis pot.
Regardless of the new pandemic aid, the Eurogroup also approved 748 million euros in debt relief for Greece for loans from the euro bailout funds, with which the country was saved from bankruptcy after 2010. The country receives such reliefs as, for example, interest rebates annually in return for the continuation of reforms.
Another major European construction site, however, is not making headway: There was no decision on the banking union, as Eurogroup boss Paschal Donohoe announced in the evening. A compromise is possible, but it will take more time. Actually, at least a roadmap should be available for agreement by the end of June. Now you will probably take at least another six months.
The banking union, which was launched after the financial crisis in 2008, is about a uniform set of rules designed to keep the banking sector in Europe stable and efficient. Uniform supervision and a uniform resolution mechanism have already been introduced. The joint EDIS deposit protection scheme as the third pillar is controversial. Germany demands the reduction of risks in bank balance sheets as a precondition. This has been debated for years.
According to Scholz, the third important topic of the finance ministers was the cornerstones of the global minimum taxation of companies, which the G7 finance ministers had recently agreed. The Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna assured that he supported the G7 concept. But the details still need to be clarified.
Like Ireland and the Netherlands, Luxembourg is one of the EU countries that attract companies with favorable tax conditions and may be forced to make corrections in the future. Ireland does not agree with the proposal, as Donohoe made clear in his role as Irish Finance Minister./vsr/DP/he