PM to fight for loans and green budget in EU summit

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen joins her European counterparts in Brussels to hammer out a deal for a coronavirus recovery package and the EU’s 7-year budget

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will push for an EU coronavirus recovery fund handed out in loans as well as a green budget as she joins fellow European leaders in a Brussels summit on Friday.

The meeting is the EU leaders’ first face-to-face talks since the pandemic hit Europe. The main agenda is a 750 billion euro post-coronavirus stimulus package as well as a 7-year budget worth another 1.07 trillion euros.

Frederiksen must negotiate in 48 hours an amount corresponding to 20 years of finance laws, according to DR, which noted that never before has a Danish prime minister attended an EU summit with so much money at stake – between 13,000 and 14,000 billion kroner.

Frugal Four
Denmark’s contribution to the EU has grown over the years, currently more than 20 billion kroner a year. The prime minister’s negotiations will determine whether this amount increases to 30 billion kroner in the coming years.

Along with the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria, Denmark is part of the so-called Frugal Four states that want an increase in the EU budget kept to an absolute minimum as well as a recovery fund distributed through loans rather than grants.

This runs counter to the position of southern states like Italy and Spain badly affected by the pandemic.

As green as possible
Frederiksen will also work to make the EU budget as green as possible, in line with Denmark’s ambitious climate goals.

A green EU budget will boost Denmark’s green tech industry, for instance by creating jobs in the windmill industry.

The EU recovery fund is aimed at supporting green and digital investment and reform as well as climate projects.

Rule of law
Denmark is also pushing to link EU funding to rule of law standards to pressure countries like Hungary and Poland to uphold democratic values.

However Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has threatened to derail the fund and the budget if any payments are linked to a member state’s rule of law.

With many thorny issues up for debate, EU leaders may need longer than the weekend to reach a deal.

Frederiksen attends the EU summit just two days after marrying film director Bo Tengberg, a wedding that was moved because of the meeting.

In her Instagram page, the prime minister posted a photo of her flying to the summit.

“Thank you for all your many sweet greetings! The ‘honeymoon’ goes to the EU summit in Brussels,” she said.

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