EU Agrees To $858 Billion In Grants, Loans To Bail Out Pandemic-Battered Economies

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for a joint information convention on the finish of the European summit at EU headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday. John Thys/AFP by way of Getty Images cover caption

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John Thys/AFP by way of Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive for a joint information convention on the finish of the European summit at EU headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday.

John Thys/AFP by way of Getty Images

European Union leaders emerged from 5 days of intense talks with a landmark 750 billion euro ($858 billion) plan to rescue the bloc’s economies amid the continuing assault of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exhausted heads of state and authorities lastly voted unanimously in Brussels early Tuesday to collectively challenge debt to be disbursed by way of grants and loans to member nations as they face their worst financial downturn because the Great Depression.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed the settlement by the 27-member group as “truly historic.” She and French President Emmanuel Macron spearheaded the hassle to push the deal by way of.

Negotiations over the package deal pitted a few of the EU’s strongest economies – together with the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria — towards the grouping’s poorer states, comparable to Spain and Italy. At challenge was how the burden could be shared and below what circumstances the cash could be disbursed.

Most notably, the wealthier nations had sought to make sure that the rescue package deal be made up largely of loans. Instead, the massive sum will probably be cut up between 360 billion euros ($412 billion) in loans and 390 billion euros ($446 billion) in grants that may not have to be repaid. The cash will probably be raised collectively by promoting bonds.

In the 5 days of talks within the Belgian capital, governments debated not solely the phrases of the restoration package deal, but in addition a seven-year EU funds price about 1.1 trillion euros ($1.26 trillion).

In a information convention, European Commission President Charles Michel known as the settlement a “pivotal moment” for Europe and mentioned it exhibits the bloc’s solidarity at a traditionally attempting time.

“This agreement sends a concrete signal that Europe is a force for action,” Michel mentioned.

Fear of failure was apparently robust sufficient to maintain the negotiations – initially scheduled to final simply two days – on monitor for what turned out to be a marathon session. A failed summit amid the continuing coronavirus disaster, many feared, would have thrown the EU’s future as an efficient bloc into doubt.

News of the deal pushed the euro to a four-month excessive of $1.1470.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, seen as a key impediment to a deal, acknowledged “a few clashes” through the talks however mentioned “that’s all part of the game.”

Merkel mentioned Europe “has shown it is able to break new ground in a special situation.”

“Exceptional situations require exceptional measures,” she mentioned on the information convention.

NPR’s Rob Schmitz in Berlin contributed to this report.

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