EU leaders strike deal on COVID-19 recovery fund

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BERLIN

EU leaders have reached a historic agreement early Tuesday on a €750 billion ($857.6 billion) coronavirus recovery fund and the bloc’s long term budget after four days of marathon talks in Brussels.

“A very long meeting has come to a good conclusion,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.

She said a breakthrough was achieved following a new proposal from the European Commission and the European Council on the recovery fund.

“The overall volume of €750 billion has been kept. Grants will be less, at €390 billion. And loans will be at €360 billion,” Merkel said.

EU members were divided over the size and conditions of the recovery fund.

Member states worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic pleaded for EU solidarity to mitigate the economic crisis, but the so-called Frugal Four — the wealthy group comprising of Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark — had insisted on budgetary discipline.



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