Historic Commission stimulus proposal must be followed by swift action by Member States

Ireland to receive approx. €2 billion in grants

“The irregular becomes the regular when people change their minds,” said Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher in response to the EU Commission’s historic proposal for Recovery Plan in response to Covid 19.

“What once was thought impossible: the EU Commission itself going to the financial markets and borrowing funds off its own bat, is now on the table, and there is genuine pan-European support for it,” added Kelleher, a member of the Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee.

“This is a European solution for a European problem. More of the same would not have cut it. A weak response to a crisis of this scale would have undermined the very future of the Union itself.

“So today is a good day. It’s not perfect though. I would have preferred a larger financial envelope to reflect the magnitude of this economic crisis, but my politics is about what’s possible and not what’s perfect.

“I, and my political group, Renew Europe, have been calling for this gear shift for some time. For too long, decision makers in Europe have been held back by what has happened in the past, and have refused to countenance new ideas, such as the Commission borrowing to fund its own plans.

“With a new €750 billion Next Generation Fund, comprising €500 billion in grants to member states and the remainder as loans, the Commission has listened to what the people of Europe want: real, tangible economic stimulus.

“However, announcements alone do not keep businesses afloat, or build infrastructure; action does. Citizens want action to support their local businesses and they want to know the EU has a funded plan to future proof our societies.

“I welcome the Commission’s commitment to focusing this money on the EU’s priorities for the future, not for financing current expenditures to maintain the status quo. The fund needs to deliver a greener, digitalised recovery to pave the way for the next generation.

“I am calling on the European Council and in particular those member states with reservations, to quickly accept the will of the majority and work to make this package as effective and cost-efficient as possible.

“MEPs and governments are elected to deliver solutions for our citizens and not to philosophise and debate our various political ideologies. All political groups and member states, across the political spectrum, will have to make compromises but we need to focus on the bigger picture.

“The next EU Heads of Government meeting must move quickly to adopt this proposal. Our citizens will not thank us for wasting any more time,” concluded Kelleher.