Leaders of the European Union reached a landmark deal on Tuesday after four days of intensive negotiations over a budget for the next seven years and a massive recovery fund amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
An unprecedented 1.82 trillion euros (about 2.1 trillion U.S. dollars) deal was finally announced to confront the worst recession in the EU’s history.
“This is a good deal, this is a strong deal, and most importantly this is the right deal for Europe right now,”
said President of the European Council Charles Michel at a press conference following the conclusion of the summit.
Praising the marathon talks that ended in success, Michel said the agreement sends a concrete signal that Europe is a force for action.
While admitting there were regretable aspects in the revised package after compromises were made, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen appeared joyful with the secured new resources, which will help the bloc repay the debt-financed investment in the long run.
“Europe as a whole has now a big chance to come stronger from the crisis,” said von der Leyen.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us but tonight is a big step forward toward recovery,” she added.
The plan will be submitted to the European Parliament for approval.
The first physical summit of the heads of state and government of the EU member states had been scheduled to end on Saturday, but met deadlock due to disagreement over a number of issues including the overall size of the fund, the ratio of grants versus loans, the rebates offered to the wealthier countries and prerequisites for the use of the money.