EU leaders endorsed the establishment of a recovery fund and discussed criteria for lifting containment measures
A video conference of the European Council, called by European Council President Charles Michel, was held today. The heads of state and government and leaders of EU institutions discussed the situation and measures relating to the COVID-19 epidemic. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša also participated in the video conference.
EU leaders discussed the issues regarding the lifting of containment measures in preparation for the summer holiday months and the necessary joint measures for economic recovery. They voiced their resolve to work together in their efforts to contain the epidemic and mitigate its consequences, whereby the health and security of people are of the utmost importance.
Prime Minister Janez Janša voiced his support for the Commission’s new proposal for a multiannual financial framework the structure and extent of which would correspond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis and which would be closely linked to the recovery fund. He also endorsed the proposed measures agreed upon on 9 April at the Eurogroup meeting, whereby the question remains whether these proposals will suffice to meet the needs of those most impacted by the pandemic. "If the measures will not be implemented in a solidarity-based way, the political consequences could be grave," he warned. Solidarity in the EU has to be strengthened. He also pointed out the difficult position the tourism sector finds itself in and called for the establishment of a joint “corona standard” for tourist facilities and services at the EU level to build the necessary trust and, on the basis of this, enable the operation of this important sector. Finally, he welcomed the leaders' decision that the Croatian EU Council Presidency organise a video conference on 6 May with Western Balkans countries, which are in need of their increased attention in these time of crisis.
In cooperation with the President of the European Council, the European Commission prepared a joint European timeline for the lifting of coronavirus containment measures, which was endorsed by the leaders. They also adopted the proposed measures and instruments in the total amount of EUR 540 billion agreed upon on 9 April by the Eurogroup, which was tasked with ensuring these measures and instruments are operational by 1 June. The key part of the discussion focused on the plan for recovery, which is paramount and should be based on the principles of solidarity, cohesion and convergence. The extent of the recovery fund must correspond to the economic challenges posed by the crisis. The Commission will prepare a detailed overview of the consequences of the crisis in different sectors and regions of the EU, which will enable the fund to support the necessary investments according to the specific needs of individual sectors and regions. In the continuation of its work, the Commission will more precisely specify the link between the fund and the multiannual financial framework and will likely submit its proposal for the recovery fund and the multiannual financial framework for the period of 2021–2027 on 6 May.