(Reuters) – European Parliament President David Sassoli asked EU leaders on Thursday to increase the bloc’s next seven-year budget by 39 billion euros to revive stalled negotiations on a recovery package for the bloc’s recession-torn economies.
Speaking to the European Union’s 27 leaders, Sassoli pointed out the extra money, which parliament wants spent on research and development, health, education and security, would be a drop in the bucket compared to the combined 1.8 trillion euro size of the long-term budget and the recovery plan.
“This is a paltry sum when set against an overall package, but one which would make an enormous difference to the citizens,” he said, noting that parliament had made proposals on how to raise the money.
EU leaders agreed at a marathon summit in July on the seven-year budget and the recovery plan to help lift Europe’s economy from its deepest-ever recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the deal must still be approved by EU lawmakers and ratified by member states’ national parliaments.
“At present, the negotiations are stalled. You have it in your hands to get them moving again,” Sassoli told the leaders.
An EU official said Sassoli’s appeal met with a cold reception.