European Commission: Great plan, old money | Economy

It is a magnificent package. The set of rules, measures and proposals launched by the European Commission on the 18th to deal with the crisis generated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has little historical comparison.

It addresses almost all the key issues, such as support, both urgent and long-term, to the country under attack. Or the design and material endowment of a solid Defense policy. Or the energy impact on the EU, seeking its substantial autonomy.

The objectives and actions seem very well laid out, despite the incomparable brevity of its preparation. But the resources that should make them possible are another story. Common goals and policies are proposed, but with workaround financing, retreaded budget items and little appeal to the mutualization of the effort.

It seems as if the successful federal experience of issuing Eurobonds to pay for the Next Generation Recovery Plan (NGEU) had been a flash in the pan.

An exception is support for Ukraine. Since the invasion, the EU mobilized 4.1 billion euros. And it foresees another 9,000 in subsidized loans, scratching corners of its budget or with its guarantee. But in the long term, reconstruction will be pharaonic (kyiv already accounts for half a billion euros) and Europe will have to bear part of it: “The unforeseen needs far exceed the available resources” in the seven-year budget, “so new sources of funding will have to be found.” financing”, including obtaining funds “on behalf of the EU”. Mutualize.

More recent than the crisis aid, the defense policy considers a giant leap. Especially in its base, the investment in common material that is missing (until now, only 11% is “collaborative” dispatch among the 27): aerial (drones and anti-drones); ground (anti-tank artillery); space (satellites), cybersecurity, ships, military mobility… A working group endowed with 500 million will specify this planning. And how to pay for it.

He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.


Perhaps the most mature is the energy chapter, not in vain has been working on it for years and learning is accumulated, error after error. The catalog of measures to urgently cancel dependence on Russian gas (155 bcm per year) and obtain sovereign sufficiency (in 2027) is almost infinite.

It ranges from joint gas purchases to price controls in extreme cases; to finance new oil-and-gas pipelines and regasification plants to connect everyone, to the intensive savings plan for homes and industries; to increase renewables, until doubling the current photovoltaic solar production by 2025.

The additional investment planned for this is 210,000 million: self-paying in the long term for the savings to be generated, (93,700 million per year), says Brussels. Until mobilizing a total of 300,000 million: but of these, 225,000 will come from unused loans from the NGEU, and others from neighboring items, agriculture or cohesion. A retread, half logical (part of its ends coincide). But in the end it’s not new money.

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