Macron and Merkel to discuss European economic recovery plan

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet today in Meseberg, Germany, to discuss a European economic

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Photo: Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet today in Meseberg, Germany, to discuss a European economic recovery strategy.

On May 18, France and Germany jointly announced a plan that would allow the European Commission to borrow on behalf of the EU and disperse need-based grants—totalling $545 billion—to sectors and regions heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Spain has cautiously praised providing grants as a step in the right direction, Italy has voiced concern that the amount is insufficient to keep the European economy afloat. Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden have objectives to how the debt will be shared and have called for loans instead of grants.

In today’s meeting, Macron and Merkel will likely work to garner further support for a grant-based distribution strategy that would take effect ahead of a July 17 summit, where EU leaders will gather in person. Macron has expressed confidence that Brussels will reach mutual accord, and he is lobbying for northern European support. However, given that these countries have counter-proposed a loans distribution strategy, it is more likely that the final proposal will be changed to disperse a mixture of grants and loans, which could pose fiscal challenges for debt-laden member states, such as Greece and Italy.

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