July 23, 2020 / 8:55 AM / 17 days ago

New revenues agreed for EU a historic feat, EU Commission head says

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen delivers a speech during a plenary session on the conclusions of the extraordinary European Council meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium July 23, 2020. Francois Walschaerts/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - An agreement by European Union leaders to assign new revenue streams to finance the recovery package is a huge, historic step for the 27-nation bloc, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament on Thursday.

EU leaders agreed on Tuesday after a four-day summit to impose a tax on non-recycled plastic and pass the money on to the EU and to have a tax on digital services and on goods important into the EU from countries with lower CO2 emission standards, among others.

“The big winner of this summit are the new own resources” von der Leyen said in presenting the summit agreement to parliamentarians, who will have to approve it over the coming months.

“We have now a unanimous agreement on the need for new own resources. And this is a huge and historic step forward for our union, which both the Commission and the parliament have long been pushing for,” she said.

Von der Leyen also stressed that the disbursement of cash from the 750 billion euro recovery package to EU countries was linked to governments observing the rule of law.

The link, albeit not clearly formulated in the conclusions of the summit, is a means of pressure on Poland and Hungary to heed EU calls for them not to undermine the independence of the courts, non-governmental organisations and media.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski and Kate Abnett

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