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Macron, Rutte agree to disagree on European response to US subsidies


French President Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte hinted at agreement on a possible European response to the U.S.’s multibillion green subsidy package Monday, while also exposing key differences on what that response should be.

Speaking at a joint press conference in The Hague, the two leaders spoke optimistically of their talks ahead of a European Council summit planned for next week. Macron said he felt there were “convergences” between them, while Rutte said European leaders would “work towards an agreement.”

The two men have been at odds in recent weeks over how to respond to fears across the bloc that America’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will siphon green investments out of Europe. While Macron has pushed for the EU to match the IRA with a generous package of its own, Rutte, a leading voice in the so-called frugal group, has warned against throwing money at the system without reforming it.

On Monday, Rutte argued that the EU should spend its money using existing funding streams, before planning any common debt mechanism.

“We see that there is a lot of money in existing pots, the annual budget, money in the resilience fund … Next week we will see what is available and we will work towards an agreement,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, Macron hinted at some concessions to get EU leaders to agree on a rapid response to the IRA.

“We need an EU instrument that is ambitious and as quick as what the Americans are doing. We need €380 billion to invest in green tech. Do we need new money in the system … My priority is that we speed things up, I’m in favor of using the money that we already have,” he said.

However, Macron said a further discussion down the line would be needed on the European Commission’s proposal for a sovereign fund for the EU.