The French President who is “desperate” to ensure the European Union becomes a federalist political partnership between member states, is now facing deep divisions in the bloc, claimed Brexiteer Rod Liddle. Speaking to Times Radio, the British journalist said: “I voted Leave with grave reservations, to be honest, and it was a very, very close call for me. But everything which has happened within the European Union since 2016, has convinced me kind of that it was the right thing to do.
“And this latest meeting, where the ultimate insult was told to the Dutch Prime Minister, Mr Rutte, which was he was behaving like a British Prime Minister, which is a fabulous insult. It could only come from the French.
“And the French who are the soul at the moment, kind of backbone of the federalist EU program are desperately trying to corral everyone together to get this over the line and an amount of expenditure which by the way is an enormous splurge and will hurt very hard those countries which are forced to pay the bills and will deepen disagreements, I suspect, within the European Union.”
He added: “I mean the frugal four are not happy but then nor is Spain happy.
“And Spain and Italy were both furious that they weren’t given enough money and blamed you lot (Germans) as a consequence for it.
“There are deep rancorous divisions within Europe and I don’t think COVID has necessarily helped them.
“And don’t forget the European Union and Schengen in general were very very slow to react to the COVID virus in a way that Germany for example wasn’t at all.”
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EU news: Emmanuel Macron will face deep divisions in the bloc over agreed recovery fund
EU news: Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel’s coronavirus fund proposal was rejected by frugal four
It comes as France’s foreign minister dismissed accusations by far-right and far-left parties in the country that President Emmanuel Macron had struck an EU economic recovery deal that sold Paris short, saying it was “historic” and showed European solidarity.
“You call this a failure. I call this a historic advance,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday, responding to a barrage of critical questions from lawmakers in parliament.
“It was normal to help Italy and Spain because they were most hit by the (COVID-19) crisis. Europe has found solidarity.”
The agreement, struck after four days of tough negotiations in Brussels, paves the way for the European Commission, the EU’s executive, to raise billions of euros on capital markets on behalf of all 27 states, an unprecedented act of solidarity in almost seven decades of European integration.
Macron acknowledged earlier on Tuesday that concessions had to be made to win over member states whose objections were blocking a deal. But, he said, the concessions were proportionate, and necessary to deliver a recovery plan big enough to be effective.
The deal was met with immediate derision from French far-right and far-left parties.
“Macron has just signed the worst deal for France in the history of the EU! To protect his ego, he sacrifices our future and our independence: European taxes, abandonment of our agriculture, colossal financial commitment of the country,” National Rally leader Marine Le Pen said on Twitter.
Those comments where echoed by Jean-Luc Melenchon, head of the far-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed).
“Macron has given in to everything: contribution discounts to tight-fisted countries, spending controls, the reduction in the amount of the recovery plan, etc…Spare us the propaganda!” he said.
European Union leaders clinched an historic deal on a massive stimulus plan for their coronavirus-throttled economies in the early hours of Tuesday, after a fractious summit lasting almost five days.
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The agreement paves the way for the European Commission, the EU’s executive, to raise billions of euros on capital markets on behalf of all 27 states, an unprecedented act of solidarity in almost seven decades of European integration.
Summit chairman Charles Michel called the accord, reached at a 5.15 a.m. (0315 GMT), a pivotal moment for Europe.
Many had warned that a failed summit amid the coronavirus pandemic would have put the bloc’s viability in serious doubt after years of economic crisis and Britain’s recent departure.
“This agreement sends a concrete signal that Europe is a force for action,” a jubilant Michel told reporters.
Leaders hope the 750 billion euro recovery fund and its related 1.1 trillion euro 2021-2027 budget will help repair the continent’s deepest recession since World War Two after the coronavirus outbreak shut down economies.