Former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, is chairing his first EU summit amidst a flurry of proposals making the discussions. Chief among them is an investment plan to pump over 300 billion euros into infrastructure projects across the bloc.
Championed by the European Commission it would be heavily reliant on private sector funding, but despite the hype, German leader Angela Merkel
has urged caution:
“Investment must only go into viable projects for the future, into areas like the digital economy for example, where we’re not as competitive on the global stage.”
French president Francois Hollande struck a more emphatic tone when discussing the plan, saying France would put money behind it:
“France will support this European investment plan. France will add finance, so that in our own country there will be more investment and more support for growth.”
But that endorsement of the plan may just highlight its greatest flaw, as highlighted by economist Roland Gillet in an interview with euronews
“It’s tough when you hear someone say ‘I will contribute more than what I am asked,’ but then also saying ‘I hope I will get that money back for my own country.’ I think this is the danger, that each country thinks that what they give is a legitimate reason to then receive back at least as much. In reality this is a zero sum game, there must be winners and losers, and that is a problem!”
The summit must also find common ground on many other issues. The 28 member states have agreed to sanction trade with the annexed Crimea. But they must also decide what to do next with a Russia reeling on the rubles demise.