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Source: European Parliament

The spread of COVID-19 in Europe has forced most national governments to impose a general lockdown on their populations, a measure which will prove extremely damaging to the public finances of the Member States. The French Government is dealing with short-time working, the rescheduling of bank loans, the granting of Public Investment Bank guarantees, the extension of tax deadlines and the deferral of rent and bills, all essential measures taken to safeguard jobs and help very small, small and medium-sized enterprises overcome their cash flow problems. Taking into account of a drop in tax revenue linked to a possible economic recession, it has been estimated that these measures will cost EUR 110 billion and may increase the public deficit to more than 9% of French gross domestic product in 2020. Granted, the Commission has stated that it is thinking of suspending the rules on budgetary discipline for all Member States. It seems obvious, however, that this common-sense measure should include a redistribution of budget surpluses (EUR 1.8 billion in 2019) to Member States which are net contributors, to help them cushion the economic impact of the health crisis.

Does the Commission intend to redistribute EU budget surpluses to Member States which are net contributors?

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