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MNI BRIEF: Frugals Block EU Feb Summit Call For Joint Funding

(MNI) Brussels

“Frugal” countries including Germany and the Netherlands have rejected European Union President Charles Michel’s attempt to insert a call for more joint funding for green investment into draft conclusions for a Feb 9-10 summit, officials told MNI.

Michel argued for loans similar to those of the SURE facility aimed at bolstering employment in the wake of Covid to assist countries lacking in fiscal resources to take advantage of a proposed relaxation in state aid rules for green energy projects. This would form part of Europe’s response to U.S. Inflation Reduction Act subsidies, but Germany and its allies pointed to rising costs for joint EU debt.

Despite opposition to joint funding, officials noted wide recognition of the need to address solidarity concerns in order to safeguard the single market as countries seek to support their industry.

Some EUR200 billion of NGEU loans could be repurposed and other funds in the post-Covid programme remain unspent. Another option being considered by officials is an increase in state guarantees for the European Investment Bank to finance loans or equity stakes in green energy projects. (See MNI: EU Green Deal Seen Tapping Existing Funds, Leveraged)

The European Commission is due to present proposals for its Green Deal Industry Plan on Feb 1, but one source said this was likely to be more of a “discussion paper.”

MNI Brussels Bureau |
MNI Brussels Bureau |

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