EU parliament to block recovery deal if it falls short of demands

FILE PHOTO: Building of the European Parliament is pictured during the election night for European elections, in Brussels, Belgium, May 26, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European parliament will withhold support for any deal struck by EU governments on the bloc’s huge coronavirus stimulus package if it fails to meet certain conditions, its leader said on Monday.

An EU summit spilled into its fourth day on Monday, as member countries wrangled over a proposed 1.8-trillion-euro ($2 trillion) package for the European Union’s next long-term budget and a coronavirus economic recovery fund.

EU lawmakers want the package to include measures to defend the rule of law, which could freeze funding to countries flouting democratic principles. Hungary, backed by Poland, has threatened to veto the package if its disbursement was made dependent on such conditions.

David Sassoli told EU leaders that even if they strike a deal, the package will still need to win approval from the European parliament.

“The European parliament has set out its priorities and it expects them to be met,” he said in a statement.

“If these conditions are not sufficiently met, the European parliament will not give its consent.”

Lawmakers also want an end to reductions on contributions to the EU’s joint coffers, currently received by rich net payers.

Parliament wants new EU taxes to help pay back the 750 billion euros the commission plans to borrow on the market to create a recovery fund for member states. On the table are possible new levies on carbon dioxide emissions and single-use plastic waste.

EU leaders were due to resume talks at 1400 GMT, with European Council President Charles Michel expected to put forward a new basis for a deal to bridge the competing demands of north and southern Europe.

Reporting by Kate Abnett; editing by Foo Yun Chee and Nick Macfie