EU must implement its joint recovery plan before mulling more: Gentiloni

European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni speaks during a plenary session of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, March 9, 2021. Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union should first implement its already agreed 750 billion euro post-pandemic recovery scheme before thinking of expanding it, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Paolo Gentiloni said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the International Monetary Fund’s spring meetings, held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gentiloni stressed the cash that is to be jointly borrowed and repaid by all EU countries, was not meant to be an emergency response to the health crisis.

“This is not emergency money. The emergency reaction was very strong from member states,” Gentiloni said referring to massive national fiscal stimulus of individual governments of the 27-nation bloc.

“This common money is for quality growth, it should be connected to green and digital transitions and reforms,” Gentiloni said in a discussion with IMF head Kristalina Georgieva.

“At EU level we should first implement the national recovery plans. To open the discussion on the amount ... when we are finalising the plans and ratification would be quite counterproductive,” Gentiloni said.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Jon Boyle