‘It’s for member states!’ EU Commissioner refuses responsibility for bloc’s covid recovery

EU: Nicolas Schmit compares pandemic recovery to US

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Nicolas Schmit, the European Union’s commissioner for jobs and social rights said that it was up to member states to bring forward their own plans for coronavirus recovery before the bloc decides on funding options, with figures now soaring into the billions. He was also quick to ensure comparisons were not made between the ammount of money being made availiable by the European Union to member states compared with the trillions the USA has in its coffers for the American economy in a desperate defence of the EU’s pandemic recovery strategy.

The jobs commissioner said: “On the pandemic recovery I think we have to wait for member states to present their national programmes [and] plans.

“So the Commission cannot implement the recovery and resilience facility before member states have introduced their plans.”

But he explained: “This has now been done and we expect the first funds to be affected also in July.”

Mr Schmit claimed: “So this is quite a short period!”

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Mr Schmit then went on the defence to make ensure comparisons were not being made between the European Union’s recovery and the rest of the world, including the USA’s recovery from the pandemic, which includes trillions of dollars in stimulation packages brought in by President Joe Biden.

He said: “Also of the amounts, you cannot compare the European amounts and the US amounts because we have perhaps less European ammounts than the US Federal government.

“But we have a lot of funding from the National Government so when you add all of this funding and you also take into account the differnces between the social protection systems in the US and those in the Euorpean Union.

“You will see that the differences are much less important.”

EU: Nicolas Schmit praises vaccine rollout

Talk of recovery comes as the European Union admitted that Britain is set to recover from the Covid pandemic much faster than itself, and praised its former member state’s massive success on vaccines.

In its latest economic forecast, the European Commission said the UK is on track for a GDP increase of five percent this year and 5.3 percent in 2022.

This was more promising than the recovery figures predicted for the 27-member bloc where the Commission forecast the average GDP rise across the EU to be between 4.2 percent and 4.4 percent.

The forecast said of the UK: “If cases continue to fall and vaccinations continue as planned, an almost full lifting of restrictions is foreseen for end June.”

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Due to the massive progress made in vaccinating citizens, people in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also set to have freedom returned to them in the coming weeks and months.

But fears are mounting over the presence of the Indian covid variant, B.1.617.2, which has doubled in cases in the UK within a week which Boris Johnson has said could pose “serious disruption” to lockdown easing in England on 21 June.

Mr Johnson added if the variant was found to be “significantly” more transmissible there could be “some hard choices” to be made by him and his team after 1,313 confirmed cases of the Indian Covid variant have been found in the UK as of Saturday morning.

The wait between jabs has now been cut from 12 weeks to eight for the over-50s and clinically vulnerable because of concern over the variant.

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