Alfred Sant questions which countries will end up benefiting from EU coronavirus recovery plan

Labour MEP says EU's €750 billion COVID-19 recovery plan could prove beneficial to some member states more than others

Alfred Sant has suggested money from the EU’s €750 billion "Next Generation" recovery funds will be benefiting various regions differently from others.

The Labour MEP said on Thursday that the recovery plan, announced yesterday by European Commission president Ursula Von Der Leyen, might skew its benefits towards particular regions at the expense of others, because of its multiple goals.

“Who will exactly benefit from the envisaged recovery plan?... For instance, in response to Green Deal exigencies, significant resources will apply to the promotion of clean energy applications, like the creation of a million charging stations for electric cars. Naturally producers of the latter, mainly located in two member states, will benefit most from this,” Sant said.

“Care will have to be taken to ensure that the recovery plan, positive as it is, does not serve to widen instead of narrow existing divergences between different regions of the Union.”

Malta is earmarked for almost €1 billion in recovery grants and loans, launched in an EU effort to counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The money, however, will have to be raised by the EU's member states themselves, under a mechanism know as "own resources."

Together with targeted reinforcements in the EU’s budget - known as the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) - for 2021-2027, this brings the total financial firepower of the EU budget to €1.85 trillion.

Whilst welcoming the objectives of the EU recovery package, Sant said it was positive that a large percentage of the funding will be in grants.

“It's integration into the Multiannual Financial Framework also makes sense. Next Generation EU will raise money by temporarily lifting Europe's own resources ceiling to 2% of the Union's Gross National Income, allowing the Commission to use its strong credit rating to borrow €750 billion on the financial markets," Sant noted. 

"Still the question remains: Will the proposed rise of the GNI Own Resources ceiling be enough to cover the envisaged requirements? Some economic forecasts seem to make this quite doubtful," he asked, however.

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