European Union leaders have today approved a landmark stimulus package, which would see a whopping €750 billion (AU$1.2 trillion) injected into Europe, as it continues to battle the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 27 European Union governments finally reached the agreement after over 90 hours of discussion, with EU Council Chief Charles Michel tweeting ‘Deal!’ earlier today.
“We did it! Europe is strong. Europe is united,” Michel said in a press conference. “These were, of course, difficult negotiations in very difficult times for all Europeans.”
Michel said the agreement was “good” and “strong”, and the “right deal for Europe now”.
The stimulus is the largest ever joint borrowing by the 27 members of the EU bloc, made possible by the financial backing of Germany and France.
The deal will see tens of billions of dollars injected into pandemic-hit countries like Spain and Italy, which were already heavily indebted before the pandemic sunk in.
The payouts from other countries to those hardest-hit will come with strings attached, however, and those who give their billions out will receive rebates on their contributions.
Around €390 billion will be dealt in the form of grants to those countries, and another €360 billion will be disbursed in loans, repayable by the member state.
The package is in addition to the EU’s already-approved €540 billion stimulus, and would bring the EU’s total agreed spending to €1.8 trillion (AU$2.9 trillion) by 2027.
Spending will reportedly be closely monitored, and must be devoted to policies that align with the EU’s priorities, like economic reform and the environment.
French President Emmanuel Macron dubbed it a “history day” for Europe.
European Commision President Ursula von der Leyen said the stimulus meant Europe was poised to come out stronger from the crisis.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but tonight is a big step forward towards recovery,” she said.
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