PARIS (Reuters) - La France a suggéré mardi qu'un projet de fonds européen de relance serait plus efficace s'il se démarquait du budget de l'UE, même si cela pourrait être difficile à supporter pour certains pays membres comme l'Allemagne.
The French Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire, sought to appease the opposition of certain northern countries such as Germany and the Netherlands to the common question of debt by proposing a temporary European stimulus fund strictly focused on future investments.
While France is open to the idea of creating the fund in the EU budget, Le Maire said on Tuesday that it would be more effective if set up as an autonomous special-purpose vehicle.
“The stand-alone option deserves to be considered in detail because it seems to us more effective in getting debt down quickly,” Le Maire said in a conference call.
“It has the merit of being clear in making a distinction between financing the recovery from the crisis and financing current expenditure in the EU,” he added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that she wants to finance the economic recovery through a larger EU budget and the issuance of a joint debt through the European Commission.
European leaders are expected to discuss ways to finance the recovery when they meet by videoconference Thursday, although diplomats and officials say they are unlikely to make decisions in talks, given the lingering divisions.
France wants the fund to be used to raise up to a trillion euros, its loans being guaranteed by all EU countries according to the size of their economies. However, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Finland have warned against the idea of joint borrowing.
If putting the fund in the EU budget could alleviate the concerns of countries wary of joint borrowing, it could create pressure to divert spending from existing programs, thereby reducing its economic dynamism.
(Report by Leigh Thomas; edited by Susan Fenton)