The Irish economy is set to receive a large share of a Covid-19 recovery fund for EU-member countries, worth €500bn, according to Fine Gael MEP for Ireland South, Sean Kelly.
The French and German governments have proposed the fund as a measure against further economic and infrastructural damage in EU countries that have been worst hit by the pandemic.
An agreement on the matter was reached between French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday.
Speaking on Newstalk radio this morning, Mr Kelly was effusive about the news, outlining its potential to assist Ireland with its post-crisis recovery.
"I think we have a very strong case to get a good share of it, because we have a lot of very important industries that are in trouble, and that need to be kickstarted.
"I think in terms of the Single Market, that's crucial for Ireland, it's crucial for the European Union. It's a recognition that we have fallen behind the likes of China and other countries in the way we do business."
Independent MEP for Midlands-Northwest, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, insists that the recovery fund would be of little benefit to Ireland, raising questions of conditions tied to the fund.
"There's a lot of questions coming out of this proposal. A question that has to be asked, is 'who will pay this back?', 'how will we pay it back?', and is it a case that we will be forced to have a minimum corporation tax as part of this deal? At the moment, what I would be saying is, I can't see what Ireland would be gaining out of this."
Following a video call yesterday, Ms Merkel and Mr Macron said the plan would involve the EU borrowing money in financial markets to help sectors and regions that are particularly affected by the pandemic.
The money would be disbursed in the form of grants, rather than loans, with repayments made from the EU budget, an unprecedented proposal that overcomes longstanding objections from German government to the notion of collective borrowing.
“Because of the unusual nature of the crisis we are choosing an unusual path,” Ms Merkel told reporters following the joint announcement.
Mr Macron said the proposal was a way “to make Europe move forward”.
“We must draw all lessons from this pandemic,” he said, insisting on the need for solidarity between the 27 EU member states.