This was evident in a row over tax policy in 2017 which saw some countries in the EU revolt against the frugal nations.As some heads of state tried to push through a tax increase on tech giants, 10 countries resisted the proposal.Mr Macron told a news conference at the time that the tax plan was supported by 19 countries, “which shows how much momentum there is”.Supporters of the new tax system argued that tech giants had used low-tax regimes to cut out billions of euros that they should have paid in the EU.Then Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker confidently said: “I do think we will have an agreement.”
However, Ireland and Luxembourg were furiously opposed to the tax policy.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “There are lots of other countries similar to Ireland who would have a different view. Certainly some of the Nordic countries.
“The Benelux countries have a very similar economy to Ireland, are very open to trade, already very modern and very digital.”
A year prior to the row, the Commission demanded around £12billion in back taxes from Ireland’s tax deal with Apple.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel raised serious concerns over the EU’s policy.
He asked journalists: “Is the Commission now deciding for us all the time? It’s not a state.
“I don’t want a Europe where it’s one against the other.”
Some leaders showed their impatience with the sharp divide between member states.
Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said: “Countries that want to cooperate, that want a common tax for digital companies.
“We can’t be held back by countries that want to move more slowly.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had provided the strongest opposition to the plans on the table — which were said to have argued for a cap of £316billion worth of grants — preferring loans of strict conditions.
The recovery fund had originally set £450billion to be handed out as grants and £226billion in loans.
As tempers flared during the small hours, Mr Macron banged his fist on the table, saying he was ready to walk out if “sterile blockages” continued.
Ms von der Leyen said the negotiations, lasting more than 90 hours, had been “worth it” and that the EU could not be accused this time of doing “too little, too late”.