MEPs will push for a clearer link between economic aid and the rule of law

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The European Parliament will push for more of the EU recovery package to be spent on research and development, health and education and for a clearer link between economic aid and observing the rule of law, deputies said on Thursday.

In their first debate on the agreement struck by EU leaders on a 750 billion euro pandemic stimulus and a common 2021-27 budget of 1.074 trillion euros this week, many members of the EU assembly said they would fight for changes.

The European Parliament has to approve the spending plan over the next several months, before it can become reality and help lift the EU economy from recession.

“I am happy about the agreement but I am not happy about the deal,” said Manfred Weber, who leads the biggest, centre-right parliamentary group, EPP.

“We think the MFF (the long-term budget) is not giving proper answers to the challenges of the next seven years. It has to be more future oriented,” he said.

A number of MEPs highlighted that the question of reimbursing the debt was not resolved. MEPs insisted that the burden must not fall on the citizens, and that a robust system of new own resources including a digital tax or levies on carbon for the repayment must be guaranteed, with a binding calendar.

Furthermore, many underlined that “the EU is not a cash machine for national budgets”, deploring that “frugal” countries do not want to pay the price for benefiting from the single market, and insisting that no funds should go to “pseudo-democratic” governments which do not respect the rule of law and EU values.

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