EU leaders to weigh joint investment plan at summit – French official

FILE PHOTO: EU flags are seen outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: European Union flags are seen outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

March 9, 2022

PARIS (Reuters) – EU leaders will hold initial talks at a summit this week in Versailles about a joint investment plan to boost the bloc’s independence in defence and energy following the crisis in Ukraine, a French presidency official said on Wednesday.

“We are thinking about it, it’s the start of a discussion about a plan to speed up and increase joint investments in defence, energy and climate transition,” the official said ahead of the two-day summit starting early Thursday evening.

The official said the aim was to identify the economic impact of the crisis, determining countries’ financial needs as a result of it and then considering what instruments could be used.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who has resisted such joint financial initiatives in the past, said earlier on Wednesday that the European Union should first make full use of existing instruments before rolling out new EU funds.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Michel Rose)