Brexit: France or Italy will leave next says Charles-Henri Gallois
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The European Commission has already reportedly notified some member states of certain reforms, such as Germany, who will be looking to benefit from the recovery plan. On Tuesday, the European Parliament voted for a regulation on the recovery plan, and exchanges are already taking place between the Commission and member states. The Commission has highlighted a key requirement, which alongside investment measures, member state governments must provide for “structural reforms”.
The Commission said: “The recommendations pointed out that it was desirable to harmonize the different pension systems, in 2019 and already before. And this challenge is an observation shared with France.
“So that must be discussed within the framework of the recovery plan.”
The demand for pension reform and new austerity measures in France has sent Frexit demands surging once again, with campaigners demanding France be taken out of the EU.
Political campaign group Generation Frexit tweeted: “As we had announced, the pension reform and new austerity measures will be the counterparts demanded by Brussels in exchange for the European Union recovery plan.
“Without even the decency to wait for COVID19 to be defeated. #LetsTakeBackControl.”
French MEP Florian Philippot tweeted: “‘Pensions must be discussed’: as expected, the EU demands from France the reform of pensions (among others…) to get 40 billion (which costs us 80).
“The French must know that, the betrayal of their leaders! Frexit quickly!”
The text discussed on Tuesday follows a compromise between EU institutions which was finalised in December, increasing the likelihood of it being adopted in the same terms by Parliament.
As part of the recovery plan, up to €360 billion may be paid to the member states in the form of loans to be repaid, and €312 billion through grants.
The amount of aid allocated to each EU country is then finalised, with France set to €39 billion.
The document details the conditions that must be met in order to receive these funds, with national plans contributing to ecological and digital transitions, to which a minimum share of funds should be devoted.
The national plans must also be “consistent with the challenges and priorities identified” within the framework of the “European Semester”, which is a scheme that sees the European Commission make recommendations to member states each year, targeting the coordination of national economic policies.
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When this regulation is agreed and adopted, EU members will have until April 30 to return their draft to the Commission, who will then have two months to decide on its own assessment.
This will then be brought before the EU Council in order to validate the recovery plans.
A qualified majority will be required, meaning votes from at least 15 member states, which combined must accumulate two-thirds of the EU’s total population.
The financial aid will then begin to flow through, but countries will only be able to receive a maximum of 13 percent of their subsidies this year, or in France’s case, €5billion.
In terms of discussions on spending plans with the Commission, the French Ministry of Economy has suggested the Government has “already started informal discussions with the European Commission”, which “are progressing satisfactorily”.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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