LISBON – Economic forecasts call for agreement

The prime ministers of Portugal and Italy said on Tuesday that the worsening economic forecasts issued by the European Commission require an agreement between the 27 EU member states at the next European Council meeting.

“There was a general downward revision of economic forecasts for Europe as a whole and Portugal saw a very significant reduction. We are now one-tenth below the EU average”,  said Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, adding that his government “has a habit of working against forecasts – and that is what will be done.”

It is very difficult to move one thing without dismantling the European Commission proposal as a whole, according to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. 

On Monday, at a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Socialist PM António Costa spoke out against “red lines” in the negotiations on the recovery fund and the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), but warned that he refused cuts in cohesion policy or the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

“Of course, we can always discuss whether it is a little more or a little less, but there is one thing that is fundamental: there should be no cuts in the Cohesion Policy or in the second pillar of the CAP. These are the fundamental lines”, said Costa.

The head of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, said that “July is the month for an agreement in Europe” on the EU’s MFF and the Recovery Fund.

Next week, Costa will also meet his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, who, along with Austria, Denmark and Sweden, is among the so-called “Frugal Four”. 

(Pedro Morais Fonseca, Lusa.pt)

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