Austria’s Sebastian Kurz: EU’s Covid recovery fund is ‘more than enough’

'Frugal' member states were initially sceptical about the need for €672.5bn Recovery and Resilience Facility

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The EU's €672.5 billion ($815.1bn) Covid recovery package is "more than enough" and must not be repeated, to ensure the bloc is not overburdened with debt, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.

Mr Kurz said the supposedly more "frugal" EU member states, including Austria, appreciated the need for the Recovery and Resilience Facility, with the Austrian leader saying he believed it would be enough to kick-start the bloc's economies.

Under the facility, the European Commission will make billions available to member states to support reform and investment. Each country must submit a national recovery plan that details how they will use the funding, which collectively is made up of up €312.5bn in grants and €360bn in loans.

Each national proposal must ensure at least 37 per cent of the money is used to support climate efforts and at least 20 per cent must help the digital transition.

All EU member states have since backed the Commission’s recovery plan, but there was some initial resistance from the "frugal four" of Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.

“I think that it will be enough and I would also say it has to be enough,” Mr Kurz told the Globalsec 2021 Bratislava Forum.

“Austria and other countries in the European Union, the so-called ‘frugal’ countries, were quite sceptical about the recovery fund at the beginning. We agreed in the end because we think that the package is good. We think the decision was good and we think that it was necessary to invest a lot of money to kick-start the economy.

“But we would have not agreed to a permanent debt union and we do not want to repeat it several times. We think that it was a tool necessary at this time, but nothing we should repeat quite often,” Mr Kurz said.

Funds from the facility are set to be made available very soon, as the plans of each member states are scrutinised.

“Yes, I think it is more than enough. It is OK that we did it, but it is more than enough and now we should not discuss if we need more. We should focus more on the debate [about] where to invest.”