Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Sunday laid out the conditions he would need to approve a controversial European Union post-pandemic recovery package, reiterating many of the stipulations being demanded by the so-called Frugal Four nations.
"If we are already spending a great deal of state money, then we should at least ensure that it's flowing into the proper sectors," he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper on Sunday.
"Above all, more research and development towards a good digital infrastructure, including in the technological transition that is needed for better climate protection," added the Austrian leader.
His comments come ahead of a special EU summit on July 17-18, at which many hope for signs of agreement on a proposed European Commission recovery package worth 750 billion euros (851 billion dollars). This consists of 500 billion euros in grants and 250 billion euros in loans to help with EU countries' economic recovery.
The Frugal Four
Austria - which along with Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden makes up the so-called Frugal Four - would prefer loans rather than grants, and for the money to be linked to binding economic reforms.
"Conditionality is necessary so that the money does not just serve to plug holes in the budget," said Kurz, adding that he would like to see the recipient countries have to repay at least part of the aid.