EU nations settle $2.1T budget for coronavirus aids
The European Union (EU) leaders have finally settled down an unprecedented 1.82 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) budget and coronavirus recovery fund on Tuesday.
After a four-day summit over money and power in one of longest deals ever, the EU nations have come to a solution to meet the Covid-19 challenges.
To confront the biggest recession in its history, the EU reached a consensus on a 750 billion euro coronavirus fund to be sent as loans and grants to the countries hit hardest by the virus, reports AP.
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.
“Never before did the EU invest in the future like this,” Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that it was a “historic day for Europe.” “There were extremely tense moments,” he added.
The 27 leaders all huddled back in the main room of the Europa centre and bumped elbows and made jokes before giving the package the final approval.
The summit host Charles Michel wrote on Twitter: “We did it! Europe is united.”
“We showed our belief in our common future,” Michel, the EU Council president, added with obvious relief.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said an extraordinary situation demands extraordinary efforts.
A two-day summit scheduled to end Saturday was forced into two extra days by deep ideological differences among the 27 leaders.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, defended the cause of a group of five wealthy northern nations — the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
He was on the brink of securing limits to costs and imposing strict reform guarantees on any rescue plan for needy nations.
It was the focal point of the marathon talks that started on Friday morning.
The coronavirus has sent the EU into a tailspin, killing around 135,000 of its citizens and plunging its economy into an estimated contraction of 8.3 percent this year.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez underscored the adoption of an ambitious plan was obligatory as the health crisis continues to threaten the EU.