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Talking Europe

'Letting the eurozone fail is what is at stake': Leading Green MEP backs EU Recovery Plan

TALKING EUROPE
TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24

As European countries unlock their borders and their economies, the very future of the eurozone remains at risk, unless EU states accept a proposed €750 billion Recovery Plan. That's according to Philippe Lamberts, co-president of the European Greens group at the EU Parliament.

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The Belgian MEP told FRANCE 24's Catherine Nicholson that the so-called "frugal" states who are resisting the plan need to see the bigger picture. "It is in the Netherlands', in Finland's, in Austria's, in Germany's best interest that Europe comes out prosperous from this pandemic… Letting the eurozone fail, because that is what is at stake, would dramatically hurt the interests of the countries I mentioned... This is not a matter of charity, it is a matter of common interest. And the Dutch should be able to understand that better than anyone else," he said, singling out the leading "frugal" state, the Netherlands, which has led resistance to the plan.

>> EU Commission proposes €750 billion recovery fund in wake of Covid-19 crisis

Also, as European states bail out flag-carrier airlines, Lamberts says that state aid should come with conditions in the form of commitments to reduce airlines' emissions and impact on the climate: "We as Greens consider that support to the airline and aircraft industry may be warranted, but that must accompany drastic change - and no, the world will never be as before for this industry."

And in the week that the EU's foreign policy chief ruled out imposing sanctions on China over its national security law plans for Hong Kong, the Green MEP called for a unified EU stance towards Beijing: "We will only be heard by China if we speak with one voice. Speak softly but carry a big stick... I believe in diplomacy... but we have to recognise that China positions itself right now as a fierce opponent of liberal democracy. Xi Jinping makes no mystery of that: that he wants the authoritarian-type system that China has to prevail in the world, and this is something we cannot let happen."

Produced by Mathilde Bénézet, Isabelle Romero, Luke Brown and Perrine Desplats

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