Sassoli to European Council: Today it is time to conclude for the good of the citizens

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“As we are all painfully aware, 2020 is a year that will go down in the history books. The pandemic we are facing is unprecedented, as are the measures we have devised to tackle it and its consequences,” David Sassoli said

He also added: “In this very room, in July, less than five months ago, you took historic decisions. The European Union’s determined response has been much appreciated by people in Europe. Since July, we have worked unceasingly with the German Presidency and the Commission to further improve the terms of the agreement reached, for the benefit of our citizens. It is now time to make that agreement final. This year unlike any other is coming to an end. The crisis exacerbated by the second wave of the pandemic is worsening and we do not yet have a recovery plan or an MFF for the coming years. The 2021 budget on which the Council and Parliament have reached agreement has not yet been formally adopted.

“We reached a very satisfactory agreement on the package comprising the MFF, the Recovery Fund and new own resources, delivering more money for key EU programmes and a robust rule-of-law mechanism. Parliament is not prepared to see the results we achieved called into question.

“I hope that a solution will be found by tomorrow which will enable us to vote on the MFF and the Rule of Law Regulation next week. Of course, we will examine in detail the conclusions of the European Council, and we hope that they will be consistent with the spirit and letter of the compromise reached, in particular on measures to safeguard the rule of law. It is important that, once all the arguments have been heard and unity has been restored, the Union moves forward with all 27 Member States.

“Since July, the German Presidency has spared no effort to negotiate the texts to be approved now by the Council and Parliament. I should like to thank you personally, Chancellor Merkel, for your commitment, for your determination to find the best solution in the interests of everyone. It has been an honour and a pleasure to work with you.”

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