Scholz: Aufbaufonds is a “game changer” for the EU

The EU countries submit their plans for the funds from the new EU fund. Germany’s finance minister confirms what he thinks of it in the long term.

Bringing the reconstruction fund on the way: Olaf Scholz

DGermany, France, Spain and Italy have called on the EU partners to enable a quick start of the aid fund against the economic consequences of the Corona crisis. The four large EU countries called on the other member states on Wednesday to ratify the financing decision for the € 750 billion reconstruction fund “as soon as possible”, said Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) on Wednesday. Because this is “a historic opportunity” to shape Europe’s future together. Scholz sees the implementation of the Corona Reconstruction Fund, which is now starting, a key setting of the course for the EU. He called it a “game changer” for a climate-neutral and digital Europe.

The EU heads of state and government launched the unprecedented Corona aid fund last year. Germany is entitled to up to 25.6 billion euros in grants from the construction fund, which do not have to be repaid.

The federal government wants to use 90 percent of the funds for climate protection and digitization. This Wednesday she is submitting a national expenditure plan to the EU Commission in Brussels.

Climate, microelectronics and more

In order to finance the plan, the EU Commission is to take on debts in an unprecedented amount on behalf of the Union. All 27 member states still have to agree to this. So far 19 countries have done this. Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Austria, Poland, Romania and Hungary are still missing.

Scholz emphasized in statements transmitted by video with his colleagues from France, Italy and Spain that the German expenditure plan was “a really European plan”. Because he also supports international projects such as hydrogen energy, microelectronics and data processing, in which other EU countries could participate.

“Our goal is to strengthen innovation across Europe in order to become more independent and sovereign,” said France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. He called on the EU Commission to quickly examine the national spending plans so that they can be adopted “by July at the latest” and funds can flow in “before the end of summer”.

Italy’s finance and economy minister Daniele Franco spoke of a “decisive moment for Europe”. Because the member states had jointly decided to repair the economic damage caused by the pandemic, he said. Italy was hit hardest by the Corona crisis and is now the largest recipient of the Corona Relief Fund with 191 billion euros in grants and loans.

The Spanish Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, praised the fact that the EU states had decided to take on debt together “in order to invest in our common future”. She was certain that her country could “become one of the engines of European recovery” with support from the reconstruction fund.