(Adds Scholz quotes)
By Michael Nienaber
BERLIN, Sept 3 (Reuters) – EU finance ministers will discuss in Berlin next week the implementation of a 750 billion euro recovery package and how to give the bloc its own resources to pay back joint debt, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Thursday.
European Union leaders in July clinched an historic deal on a massive debt-financed stimulus plan for their coronavirus-throttled economies, but they left open details on how quickly the funds should flow and how the bloc would repay the borrowed money.
Speaking at an event of the Bruegel institute via video-link, Scholz said Germany, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the 27-nation EU, wanted to finish the process of setting up the recovery plan and the EU’s long-term budget.
“For the recovery to be truly successful, we must recover together and use this opportunity to transform our economy,” Scholz said, adding that the first tranches of the EU recovery money should be paid out early next year.
“To get Europe’s economy back on track, investment is key. Coupled with smart, credible reform packages, it can create growth opportunities and make our economies more resilient,” Scholz said.
EU leaders have agreed to impose a tax on non-recycled plastic and pass the money on to the EU. But more negotiations among finance ministers are needed to agree details on a proposed tax on digital services and on goods imported into the EU from countries with lower CO2 emission standards.
Both fiscal steps are likely to increase trade tensions with the United States and China. Scholz will discuss the issue with his European counterparts at an informal meeting which he will host in Berlin on Sept. 11-12.
Scholz said he also wanted to discuss with his European counterparts how the bloc could move away from the requirement to agree major decisions unanimously and reach agreements with a qualified majority also on tax matters.
“This would be a real breakthrough,” Scholz added.
Germany also wants the EU finance ministers to speed up stalled talks about bank reforms, a project also known as the European banking union, but Scholz insisted that all countries had to move to reach a compromise, not only Berlin.
Scholz, a Social Democrat, last November outlined changes for the euro zone to complete its banking union reforms, offering a key concession from Germany — conditional backing for a pan-European deposit protection scheme (EDIS).
Scholz said he didn’t want discussions to focus only on the issue of EDIS as his package of proposals also included other important bank reforms.
Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by Thomas Seythal and