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V4 leaders seeking common position on EU recovery plan

Interview

The prime ministers of the Visegrád Group countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) met in Lednice, south Moravia in the Czech Republic, to coordinate their position on the proposed EU recovery plan ahead of a meeting of the European Council, due to take place next week, sources such as Reuters and Czech Radio report.

Under recovery plans at the forefront of the next seven-year EU budget, major western member states Italy and Spain, which have suffered the highest coronavirus tolls in the EU, would receive the most money.

Poland would get the third highest amount, which has made it an early supporter. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said the main criterion for the distribution of the roughly EUR 750 billion should be the decline in gross domestic product of individual countries as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Babiš said he expected a lengthy debate on the issue, adding that it was too early to say how the money from the reconstruction fund should be distributed, because it is not yet clear to what extent the economies of individual member states will be affected by the pandemic, reported Czech Radio.

Wealthier EU countries should pay more into the bloc’s EU budget in the wake of the coronavirus economic recovery, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.

“Poland is strongly pushing for this, that the sources of additional payments have to be fair, one can even say progressive. The countries that are richer need to pay more,” Morawiecki told a news conference after the meeting, as quoted by Reuters.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Budapest was opposed to large borrowing ( at the core of the EU recovery plan) but would get on board if funding is distributed more favorably.

He said rich countries receiving more funds than poor ones was “absurd” and had to be changed, the funds should be utilized more flexibly and the system of rebates from EU contributions should be abolished after Brexit, he added.

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