Scale of EU funds not large enough
With the final grant package agreed at the EU summit last night over 20% less than was planned, Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly said the scale of funding was not large enough, and the compromise on the overall EU budget was disappointing with reductions to planned climate and research funding, adding he hoped the July Stimulus will provide more grants than loans.
Deputy Kelly said:
“In Ireland and across Europe Covid-19 has taken a terrible toll on jobs, livelihoods, and national budgets. The impact on health systems has stretched them to the limit and exposed deep problems.
“That is why the outcome of the marathon EU summit is disappointing. It failed to rise to the challenge of Covid-19. It is important to note the €750bn Covid package is less than was expected, and the €1 trillion budget is over 7 years.
“Despite days in Brussels it’s not clear what has been secured for Ireland. The level of grants we will receive is less than expected with the overall sum reduced to €390bn from €500bn. The Brexit fund is welcome but we have called for such an instrument for many years and it will be dispersed among multiple countries.
“The reality is many of these EU loans will not be drawn down with ECB policy making borrowing cheap for states. However it does inflate the size of the package while those against grants have extracted key concessions on rebates and custom duties.
“The cuts agreed to proposed funding for Just Transition and Rural Development are regrettable as they impact disproportionately on a country such as Ireland.
“The cuts in the research budget will seriously affect our Higher Education Institutions and run counter to the government decision to create a specific department.
“I hope the domestic July stimulus package later this week won’t go down the same road of more debt and less grants and supports for businesses.”