BRUSELAS, 9 Nov. (EUROPA PRESS) -
The German Minister of Finance, Christian Lindner, confirmed this Thursday in Brussels that there is progress in a bilateral agreement with France that will serve as the basis of a Twenty-seven pact, since they are the two countries with the most distant positions, although he has insisted also that there is still "a lot of work to do" and that now it is time to talk about the "degree of ambition" and numbers.
"I am optimistic, but there is a lot of work to do. We are in an open debate between partners and friends, there are no deadlines, only horizons," said Lindner upon his arrival at the meeting of ministers in the sector that is being held this Thursday in Brussels and led by the First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Council.
Calviño herself already encouraged at the Ecofin last October "all exchanges that can provide a constructive approach", among them the Franco-German initiative, which is advancing after the partners involved met this week in Paris, which will be followed by a new meeting in Berlin also in November.
Lindner has assured that together with his French counterpart, Bruno Le Maire, he has found a "common ground regarding the safeguarding of the debt and the deficit reference" and hopes to achieve a bilateral agreement that "could lead to a mutual understanding between all Member States".
This is, he explained, a "substantial" progress that is also recognized in the landing document presented by the Spanish presidency, which is why he has been "much more optimistic about reaching a consensus among the Twenty-seven this year."
However, during Le Maire's visit to Berlin in the coming weeks, Lindner has already announced that both will exchange opinions on the "level of ambition" of the text.
"It is progress that the idea of safeguards and benchmarks in relation to the debt/GDP ratio and annual deficits is recognized, but now what must be considered is the level of ambition, now it is about talking about numbers not only of instruments," he added.
For his part, Le Maire stressed that the two delegations are working "hard" and that the negotiations are moving "in the right direction", although he has avoided commenting on the technical parameters of the negotiation.
Likewise, he agreed with Lindner in highlighting that no deadline has been set and that they debate the issue "regularly" in a "positive and constructive" tone, while trusting that his next visit to Berlin will be "fruitful."
"The key point is a global agreement between the Twenty-Seven before the end of the year and all the credibility of the EU is at stake. The deadline for me is the end of 2023," the Frenchman concluded.