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'Frugal Four' will come round to EU's €750bn COVID-19 recovery fund, says former Finland PM Stubb

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Alex Stubb and Enrico Letta speak about broad support for EU rescue package
Alex Stubb and Enrico Letta speak about broad support for EU rescue package   -   Copyright  Euronews
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The so-called "Frugal Four" — Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden — will come round to the EU's €750 billion COVID-19 rescue fund.

That's the view of Alexander Stubb, former prime minister of Finland.

Stubb was speaking to Euronews after Brussels unveiled plans for its coronavirus recovery package, which will be made up of €500 bn of grants and €250 in loans.

Germany and France have thrown their weight behind the plans, which would see the EU raise the money on the international markets with its triple-A rating and give it out to member states hardest hit by the crisis.

If approved, it would be the first time the bloc has pooled its debt in this way.

But the richer states of the "Frugal Four" are uncomfortable with supporting the more indebted southern EU countries like Greece and Italy.

"So what we hear in the beginning is a very defensive stance from the frugal four, which is understandable," Stubb told Euronews.

"Then they will tweak and change the proposal a little bit and then everyone can come out having had a successful negotiation.

"So they will come aboard, I'm absolutely sure of that."

"I actually think it's an excellent package. It's very balanced. It's quite ambitious as well. And if we look at the early reactions of the member states, I actually think they're quite positive. Whether this will be enough at the end of the day, no one knows. But I think this is as ambitious as the European Union can get. And I think it's a great job by the European Commission."

Enrico Letta, a former Italian prime minister, was also speaking to Euronews. He shared Stubb's view regarding the credibility of the rescue deal. He added the plan has a natural cohesion with the bloc's wider goals.

"I think it's important because it is a way also to link this recovery package to the main missions of the European Commission, the Green New Deal, digitalisation, innovation.

"And I think also it's very important because it is a demonstration of solidarity within the European Union."

Though both appeared largely optimistic about Wednesday's announcement, Letta did express some concern about how the deal would be implemented.