Hawkish Eurozone States Demand Further Curbs to Budget Plan

The Netherlands and other fiscally hawkish EU members are calling for further reductions in the planned size and scope of a eurozone budget, a French political priority that has already been squeezed in negotiations in Brussels, the Financial Times reported. French president Emmanuel Macron is leading calls for the single currency to have its own budget to try to shore up its crisis resilience. EU leaders agreed in December to work on the idea in a more limited form than suggested by Mr Macron, who wanted a fund worth several percentage points of eurozone gross domestic product. A joint diplomatic note from five eurozone countries — the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, Latvia and Lithuania — has now demanded that it be even smaller, with stricter conditions on accessing money. They insist the budget should be “significantly below” proposals made by Brussels last year for a fund worth €22bn over seven years, an amount that was already at the low end of French expectations. Read more