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2020.04.24 13:00

EU needs ‘Marshall Plan’ to recover from coronavirus crisis, Lithuanian president says

BNS, LRT.lt2020.04.24 13:00

The EU's response to the coronavirus economic crisis “should become the Marshall Plan” for recovery and be made available immediately, says Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda after an online meeting with EU leaders.

Nausėda voiced his position during Thursday's video conference of EU leaders, his office said in a press release.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel presented their proposals for the European Recovery Plan and the multiannual financial framework during the video conference.

Read more: Lithuanian president rejects ‘corona bonds’

Leaders from the EU's 27 member states have agreed that a large recovery fund will be necessary, but did not reach a conclusion on specifics like the size of the fund or how it will be financed.

The EU's next seven-year budget, along with the new European Economic Recovery Plan, “should become the Marshall Plan designed to help the Community restore functioning of the internal market and promote economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis,” the Lithuanian president's office said.

“President Nausėda highlighted that the European Economic Recovery Plan should be adequate to the scale of the crisis and the support funds should be available immediately,” it said.

“The president pointed out that the new proposed instrument, the European Recovery Fund, should be considered together with the multiannual financial framework.”

Nausėda also favours more funds for the EU's cohesion policy and “increased funding for agriculture and a level playing field for all EU farmers”, according to the statement.

The Lithuanian president has also called on EU leaders to step up fight against disinformation and help countries outside the EU deal with the pandemic, especially the Eastern Partnership states.

After the video conference, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would need to pay more into the EU budget after the coronavirus crisis subsided.

Italy is leading a charge for so-called corona bonds, which would allow poorer EU countries to take out cheap loans with the richer ones providing necessary guarantees. Germany is opposed to the joint-borrowing scheme.

Lithuania's President Nausėda has sided with Germany and the Netherlands in opposing the corona bonds, even though his adviser previously expressed a more favourable stance.