Europe’s recovery from the coronavirus should focus on strengthening the “strategic autonomy” of its industry to reduce reliance on foreign suppliers, according to a “roadmap” from EU leaders.
Leaders of the European Council and the EU’s executive arm put the plan together ahead of a video conference on Thursday of the bloc’s 27 government chiefs, who are due to sign off on a €540 billion aid package aiming to safeguard companies, workers and governments from economic ruin.
The document stresses the need to make the bloc greener and more digital, and to “invest in strategic value chains and to reduce over-dependency on third countries.”
A recovery fund is also up for discussion Thursday in a bid to kick start the EU economy once governments begin to ease lockdowns, designed to stop the spread of the pandemic.
The roadmap stops short of suggesting the size of the recovery fund, which would be proposed by the European Commission — the executive body — and linked to the EU budget.
“I propose that we task the Commission to analyse the exact needs and come up with a proposal that is commensurate with the challenge we are facing,” European Council President Charles Michel said in an adjoining letter.
“The Commission proposal should clarify the link with the [EU budget], which will in any event be at the heart of the EU’s contribution to recovery and will need to be adjusted to deal with the current crisis and its aftermath,” he added.
Ivo Oliveira contributed reporting.