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Finance minister Paschal Donohue confirmed Dublin would be one of the EU’s biggest losers from the €750billion pandemic recovery fund – dubbed Next Generation EU. The unprecedented package was concluded over four acrimonious days during the longest-ever single summit negotiation in the bloc’s history. Under the agreement, the European Commission will borrow money on international markets to hand out €390billion in grants to pandemic-stricken states and a further €360billion in low-cost loans.
The Brussels-based executive has estimated Ireland’s contribution to the fund would be €18.7billion over the next 30 years, according to Mr Donohue.
Dublin could only be entitled to around €2billion from the pot of non-repayable grants and could also borrow €1billion from the fund, he added.
As one of the EU’s smallest countries, the agreement could cost each of Ireland’s 4.9 million residents around €3,400 each.
Mr Donohue said: “It is important to remember that Ireland has benefited greatly from EU membership in economic, social, environmental and financial terms.
“We stand ready to demonstrate solidarity with those most in need now.
“Ireland has been a new contributor to the EU budget since 2014, and this position is set to grow further. Ireland’s contributions are projected to increase considerably over the coming period in all scenarios as a result of economic growth in recent years.”
On top of the recovery fund, Ireland’s contribution to the EU’s long-term budget will also increase.
Dublin will pay about €3billion in 2021 with the figure set to rise to more than €4billion in 2027.
While the country is overwhelming pro-Brussels, critics have lashed out at the lop-sided agreement backed by new prime minister Micheal Martin.
Hermann Kelly, President of the Eurosceptic Irish Freedom Party, said: “After plundering Irish fishing waters to the tune of €215billion and unjustly imposing €64billion Franco-German bank debt on us the EU is now in for the final kill.
“Heaping an additional debt liability of €18.7billion on the third most publicly indebted country the world.
“Thanks Brussels, you never fail to shaft Ireland when you’re in the mood for no good.
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“Our national democracy ignored, our debts heaped up by the EU, hopefully more Irish people will quickly realise we are better off out of this swelling debt union based in Brussels.”
The lion’s share of the recovery cash is going to countries worst hit by the coronavirus crisis.
Spain will receive close to €140billion over the next six years, according to prime minister Pedro Sanchez.
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He added: “It is a great agreement for Europe, it is a great agreement for Spain.
“The agenda of the European Union and the agenda of Spain are in absolute synchrony.”
Madrid is the second-biggest recipient after Italy, which will receive around almost €209billion in grants and loans as part of the EU leaders’ deal.
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