By Rosa Die Alcolea

Father Manuel Barrios Prieto, Secretary-General of the Commission of the European Episcopates of the European Union (COMECE), congratulated the main protagonists of the Agreement signed in Brussels on July 21, 2020, between Heads of State and of Government.

The agreement reached by European leaders in the summit, from July 17-21, is one of the most voluminous financial operations of European history. The Heads of State approved a Recovery Fund with a budget of 750 billion euros, of which 390 billion euros will be in grants and 360 billion euros in loans for the countries most affected by the pandemic.

“With this Agreement of the Council, Europe is the future of all and Italy and Spain have a future,” wrote Father Barrios Prieto, congratulating especially Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron: “The project of European unification, initiated 70 years ago, continues for the good of all.”

The leaders of the 27 countries finally came to an agreement with an innovative plan to request, through the European Commission, joint loans worth 750 billion, which will be dedicated to rebuilding the most damaged economies by the pandemic, especially those of Italy and Spain. The beneficiary States will have to begin repaying that amount at the end of the European Union’s next seven-year budget, namely, in 2027.

The approval of the Recovery Fund implies “an important step forward,” according to Angelo Baglioni, Professor of International Economics at the Catholic University of Milan as it is, “perhaps,” the first time that the European Union has had the logic of solidarity prevail over that of sterile confrontation. Nevertheless, the reasons for friction continue with the so-called “frugal countries.”

Evidently, to speak of an EU that has undertaken a path of real changes, it’s necessary to carry out important structural reforms, for instance, the decision-making procedures must be rationalized and de-bureaucratized, one of which — such as the criterion of voting by unanimity — causes important delays in legislative activity. This was evident in the launching of the Recovery Fund: it took four days and four nights of intense debate to come to a conclusion.

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