PARIS AND BERLIN intend to move forward quickly on the european recovery plan and seek agreement of the Twenty-Seven before the summer break, at the latest at the end of July so. Where the moving Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday evening in The Hague, less than a week after a european Council unsuccessful on this folder.
The French president had taken the initiative of this meeting. “We need to talk“he said, slipped to the prime minister of the netherlands Mark Rutte during one of their many phone calls, a few weeks ago. The Dutch are opposed to this stimulus package of 750 billion euros, and also reluctant on the draft european budget for the period 2021-2027, to 1 100 billion euros, on which this plan builds. The Dutch prime minister is also stuck by a majority very narrow in Parliament, but also forced by the prospect of the next elections of march 2021. The program of the evening: a working session with their advisors, and then a dinner most policy in head-to-head for the two leaders, who both belong to the family of a liberal european.
“In the netherlands, this evening, I exchange with Mark Rutte. We believe in the one and the other is in this solidarity that makes our Europe“, has tweeted the president shortly before taking off for The Hague. Through this message, the will of Macron to find the passing channels. A little later, arriving in front of the buildings that house the offices of the Dutch prime minister, the tone was just as open and constructive. “By the european Council of July, we need to convince our partners on the basis of this franco-German agreement. The negotiations are progressing and everyone should be heard“noted Emmanuel Macron, doing a little bit more in the operation of charm. Obviously, the exchanges have been fruitful during the long dinner of 2 hours and 30 minutes. To 23 hours, the two men were still at the table. And, even before the end of the meal, in a message posted on Twitter, Rutte -albeit more distant – said “happy to receive Emmanuel Macron in The Hague“.
Later, at the end of the evening, the president offered a small tower by the sea, and exchanged a few words with French students, Erasmus encountered during his walk. Before flying to Paris, he would post a message on the social network: “We have always been able to find with the Dutch Prime minister constructive agreements. We have fiber in europe, we know that we are stronger together. I am convinced that we will find a common ground on the european recovery plan“.
On his arrival in Paris, the president put it. “Thank you dear Mark Rutte for your welcome this evening to The Hague and for our constructive discussions on the european recovery plan. Dank u wel!“As much as to say that the pressure is maximum on the Dutch prime minister.
No agreement has been found at this point and it will take a lot of work to possibly lead, including a big pedagogy vis-à-vis the political class in the netherlands. Because, the subjects, and the netherlands, are many: the duration of the stimulus, the preference for loans instead of grants, the conditionalities attached to these funds, their governance and the criteria for their distribution. Not counting the reserves of The Hague on a european budget that would need to be cut and “modernize“by reducing the funds allocated to Cap and cohesion. “This is the beginning of a bilateral working but there is a real common desire to reach agreement quickly“says an adviser to the head of State, adding that Macron and Rutte also spoke about the Brexit and the EU relationship with China in the course of their dinner.
It is important to talk on a bilateral basis because they are trying to speak to them often to four.
The Elysée palace, about the group the netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria
According to the Elysée, the aim of the meeting was above all “understand“the “wishes“Mark Rutte. “He expects that we should take into account a number of its expectations. It has always been attached to be a european leader, and he wants an agreement“, it was explained in the entourage of the French president prior to the meeting. Even if the Elysée did the trumpets not, it was also to circumvent the block of the four countries frugal -the netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria – including Mark Rutte is unquestionably the leader, and no doubt the more member the more leathery. It is this block which, at the end of February, had killed the agreement of Twenty-Seven on the european budget, transforming the meeting into a fiasco resounding. And, at the end of march, the frugal had also prevented the Europeans to agree on the broad lines of the immediate response to the crisis, confident that eventually this delicate mission to the Eurogroup.
“It is important to talk on a bilateral basis because they are trying to speak to them often to four“analysis-t-one at the Elysee, where one has been pleading for several weeks for negotiations on an individual basis. Nobody has forgotten that in February, during the last european Council in flesh and bone, Charles Michel had seen land in his office with the four leaders of the countries frugal so that only the Swedish prime minister had been invited to. Bad manners on the part of the frugal, but also to bad habits of language among european journalists that we are trying -in vain – to correct . “Stop the call frugal. They like to be presented like that and it gives them legitimacy“reacted recently an eu diplomat.
The question now is how far would be willing to go Mark Rutte, and how far he can actually go vis-à-vis its majority, and public opinion in the netherlands. From this point of view, the statements of Stef Blok, Dutch minister of foreign Affairs, member of the VVD, such as Mark Rutte, are not encouraging. “For us, the stimulus funds must be made up of loans and not grants, because the treaty is clear: the EU cannot borrow money to do his shopping“, he said on Tuesday during a meeting with the Italian minister of foreign Affairs, Luigi’s Maio.
Anyway, Charles Michel has launched the countdown by announcing on Tuesday that the upcoming european Council -the first in flesh and bone since the crisis of the Codiv – will be held on 17 and 18 July next. Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and the president of the european Council have three weeks to try to land the Twenty-Seven on the project that they have put on the table, namely a recovery plan with the 500 billion euros of budget subsidies on which Paris and Berlin have agreed. The bilateral trade will continue to grow. Emmanuel Macron could go soon to Berlin.