The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has warned that the populists and political extremists would pounce on the latest development if the European Union is allowed to drift apart the economy.
The German Chancellor pledged to push for an agreement on a proposed recovery of fund and on the bloc's regular budget for the coming years. She was talking to the media a day before the leaders of the EU’s 27 countries held a video conferencing summit on June 17, 2020. Merkel, whose country takes over the rotating EU presidency for six months on July 1, said the German parliament, “The starting position is anything but easy, but I hope that all member states will now act in the spirit of compromise in view of this unprecedented situation”.
She said she ideally would like an agreement before Europe's summer vacation, but Friday's summit will bring only a first exchange and decisions can be made only at an in-person meeting. The European Union last month proposed a 750 billion-euro recovery fund to help countries weather a painful recession triggered by the coronavirus — building on a previous proposal by Germany and France. However Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden — a group of countries dubbed the Frugal Four are reluctant to give money away without strings attached, and their opposition to grants could hold up the project. Merkel said, “We must not allow the pandemic to lead to the economic prospects of the EU member states drifting apart, weakening the common single market — a core element of Europe”, adding that she would work with determination against the danger of a permanent deep rift in Europe”. She stressed that they must not be naive — the anti-democratic forces, the radical, authoritarian movements, are just waiting for economic crises to misuse them politically.