May 11, 2021

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EU leaders reach a breakthrough on the region’s recovery fund

Netherlands’ Prime Minister Mark Rutte looks on next to Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and France’s President Emmanuel Macron prior the start of the European Council building in Brussels, on July 18, 2020

Francisco Seco | AFP | Getty Images

The 27 European Union governments have reached a breakthrough agreement over the region’s 750 billion euro pandemic recovery fund, following marathon talks in Brussels.

European Council President Charles Michel said he believes this deal will be seen as a “pivotal moment” for Europe.

“We did it! Europe is strong. Europe is united,” he said in an early Tuesday press conference announcing the agreement. “These were, of course, difficult negotiations in very difficult times for all Europeans.”

Michel said the agreement “is a good deal, this is a strong deal and, most importantly, this is the right deal for Europe right now.”

The heads of state have been locked in talks since Friday morning to discuss the proposed fund and the EU’s next budget. However, deep differences on how to divide the amount between grants and loans, how to oversee its investment and how to link it with the EU’s democratic values prolonged the talks into one of the longest EU summits in history.

“Europe, as a whole, has now a big chance to come out stronger from the crisis,”¬†European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but tonight is a big step forward towards recovery,” she said.

In terms of other measures, the EU has already approved a 540 billion euro package of short-term fiscal stimulus to address the ongoing economic shock. This comes on top of what the individual governments announced separately for their own economies since the pandemic first struck Europe.

In addition, the European Central Bank is buying government bonds as part of its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program, which totals 1.35 trillion euros.

This is a breaking news story, please check back later for more.

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