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EU meltdown: MEPs in last-ditch bid to win over 'Frugal Four' to ensure bloc's 'survival'

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The European Union has been split over proposals for the creation of a rescue fund to help coronavirus-ravaged countries, with some members still demanding responsible spending despite the severity of the funding. Brussels has been arguing the rescue fund would secure the bloc’s economy is not harmed more than it already has but the so-called Frugal Four of Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark continue to voice their opposition. European Parliament members have been fighting a battle against time to secure support for the fund ahead of the summer break, ramping up warnings about the risks the Frugal Four would create for the survival of the bloc with their refusal.

Manfred Weber, the German leader of the European People’s Party, told Euronews: “I hate to borrow money, that is not sustainable, that is not in the interests of the next generation.

“In the Netherlands and Austria, all over Europe they are currently creating debt, they are going to the banks and borrowing money, that is what everyone is doing currently.

“Why? Because that is the only chance now to stabilise our economy, to create a perspective for the young generation to not risk a lost decade for the European economy, for the European Union as a whole.”

Under the proposed rescue fund, the European Commission would seek to raise €750 billion to be made available to member states, with those worst affected by the pandemic set to benefit from a bigger share. 

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But Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts insisted contributing to the rescue fund would ensure some stability to the European market and ensure all members avoid further hits to their economies due to their close connection to the single market.

Mr Lamberts said: “This is a matter of survival for the European Union and people need to understand that.

“In the Netherlands, do they believe the prosperity of the country just depends on the Netherlands? Actually, no.

“Most of the business the Netherlands is doing depends on the European market. without the European market, there is no Dutch economy.”

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The European Council will be meeting throughout Friday in a final attempt to reach an agreement before the summer. 

A German official signalled no one is expecting to make steps forward as the divide remains too deep to ensure the fund receives the approval of all members.

The official said: “It is clear that we expect no essential agreements at this summit

“We know about the difficulties. This will be a big piece of work.”



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