EU leaders strike deal on recovery fund after marathon summit

RSTV Bureau
Brussels: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, and European Council President Charles Michel address a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Weary European Union leaders finally clinched an unprecedented budget and coronavirus recovery fund early Tuesday, finding unity after four days and as many nights of fighting and wrangling over money and power in one of their longest summits ever. (PTI Photo)

Brussels: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, and European Council President Charles Michel address a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Tuesday, July 21, 2020.  (PTI Photo)

Weary European Union leaders finally clinched an unprecedented 1.82 trillion euro (USD 2.1 trillion) budget and coronavirus recovery fund early Tuesday, somehow finding unity after four days and as many nights of fighting and wrangling over money and power in one of their longest summits ever.

To confront the biggest recession in its history, officials said the EU had a consensus on a 750 billion euro coronavirus fund to be sent as loans and grants to the countries hit hardest by the virus.

That comes on top of the seven-year 1 trillion euro EU budget. At first the grants were to total 500 billion euros, but the figure was lowered to 390 billion euros.

“Never before did the EU invest in the future like this, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said.

“It is a historic day for Europe, said French President Emmanuel Macron.

Just shy of being the longest EU summit in history, the 27 leaders all huddled back in the main room of the Europa center and bumped elbows and made jokes before giving the package the final approval.

Deal!,” wrote summit host Charles Michel on Twitter.

PTI