Zapatero dismisses EU aid offer as 'insufficient'

16th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 June 2005, MADRID — The Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has labelled the European Union's offer of financial aid over the next two years as "insufficient".

16 June 2005

MADRID — The Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has labelled the European Union's offer of financial aid over the next two years as "insufficient".

As the Council of Europe met to try to agree a deal over the EU budget between 2007-13, Spain was pushing for an extension of aid which has helped build up its economy over the past 19 years.

Most other countries want the multi-billion euro aid package to be cut, claiming Spain has a growing, healthy economy.

The president of the EU, Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, said it was "improbable" that the EU would agree to Madrid's proposal.

He proposed that Madrid should receive EUR 2 billion of aid between 2007-8.

But Zapatero has pushed for it to be phased out slowly over up to five years.

He told the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser: "The latest proposal is better than the last but it is insufficient."

He said there should be a "progressive" reduction in funds from the EU over up to five years.

Spain wanted another five years of aid, despite the fact its average incomes are 90 percent above the EU average — the measure used to decide if a country should stop receiving monies from the EU Cohesion Fund.

Zapatero saidation Cadena Ser: "The proposal of Juncker goes in the right direction but we want more."

Between 2000-06, Spain received EUR 48 billion of EU aid.

The new proposal from the EU would see a gradual phasing out of this cash.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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