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Speaking to TG2 Post on Thursday, the Lega leader lambasted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s coronavirus recovery fund as he claimed all the Brussels bloc has promised Italy is “Monopoly money”. Matteo Salvini blasted: “Europe has been making fun of us for months, if not for years. All the money they promised us are Monopoly money that might arrive next year.
“And we will have to give it back with interests under conditions decided for us in Luxembourg.
“Weirdly, everyone is rejecting them.”
He added: “I’m not ‘anti-Europe’.
“I have been calling for some time to reset the Procurement Code and to use EU legislation to unblock construction sites in Italy.
“Today, the EU Commission has recognised a plasma cure.
“When it works I’m ready to say “Viva Europa”, but for now all I hear is words.”
EU leaders are due to meet in Brussels on July 17-18 to haggle over the proposed COVID-19 economic stimulus and their next joint budget, the first such in-person talks in months due to health and travel restrictions.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday that he saw no urgency to reach an agreement on the European Recovery Fund during an EU leaders’ meeting set for July 17.
“It is not an absolute necessity for us to get an agreement there” Rutte told journalists after the weekly cabinet meeting.
“I don’t think we need this crazy hurry,” he added.
Speaking to Italian daily Corriere on Friday, Mr Rutte said he was willing to support the bloc’s €750 billion coronavirus recovery fund, but not without significant changes to proposals put forward by the European Commission.
Mr Rutte claimed negotiations will be “tough” as national interests lay siege to the creation of an EU-wide bailout package.
“I think that the Commission’s proposal contains room to continue the discussion,” he said.
“Without a doubt there are differences. The negotiation will be tough, it will take some time, but a compromise is possible.”
Under Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s blueprint, eurocrats would borrow €750 billion on international markets before distributing €500 billion in grants and €250 billion in loans to pandemic-stricken industries and regions across the bloc.
Spain and Italy, the EU’s hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, are due to receive the most funds from the new war chest.
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Mr Rutte supports the creation of a recovery fund but has urged his EU colleagues to reconsider the balance between loans and grants.
The Dutch prime minister has suggested that aid should be dished out in the form of low-cost loans.
He said: “Holland understands and supports the appeal for solidarity. But responsibility also means that we have to take our own.
“We owe solidarity to the countries that have been most affected by the pandemic, knowing however that we too have been seriously affected.
“This means that states which need and deserve help must also ensure that they are able to deal with such crises in a resilient way in the future. And I want to add that I admire what Giuseppe Conte does, trying to launch a package of reforms aimed at increasing Italy’s productivity and competitiveness, including unpopular measures.
“It’s a good start and I hope he continues. Because it is crucial that Italy will be able to respond to a crisis on its own next time.”
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