Ireland pushes for more EU Covid emergency funds

Ireland has pushed for more than the allocated €3bn in EU Covid-19 emergency funds, arguing that the country has suffered a lot worse than has been calculated by Brussels.
Ireland pushes for more EU Covid emergency funds

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attended the virtual EU council meeting Picture Julien Behal Photography
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar attended the virtual EU council meeting Picture Julien Behal Photography

Ireland has pushed for more than the allocated €3bn in EU Covid-19 emergency funds, arguing that the country has suffered a lot worse than has been calculated by Brussels.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pressed his counterparts at a virtual EU council meeting to release a bigger sum for Ireland, also in part because of the predicted looming damage from Brexit.

His spokesman said after the EU leaders meeting that Mr Varadkar had called for a "distribution of funds that better reflects the full impact of the Covid crisis on the economy and employment, including in Ireland, and that is targeted at those sectors and regions most affected".

Under the current rules for the proposed €750bn Covid-19 recovery fund, Ireland will get just €3bn, in part because we are considered a wealthier EU state but also due to the way the money is calculated.

The government is pushing for the full impact of the virus on Ireland to be considered, as well as the expected financial shock from Brexit.

Officials also argue that the EU methodology is backward-looking, and reflects a snapshot of the Irish economy when it was booming

It is also thought that Ireland resisted proposals to introduce a digital tax, and a special levy for large corporations, in order to help pay for the virus emergency fund.

The fund, to be approved by leaders, is expected to be made up of €500bn in grants and €250bn in loans and to be administered through the bloc's seven-year budget.

Mr Varadkar's spokesman also said that EU leaders were given an update on talks between the EU and UK on their future relationship.

Leaders agreed to intensify their discussions on the recovery fund with a view to reaching agreement at a meeting in person in Brussels in July.

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