Tuesday, Oct 19

Merkel, Macron hold joint press conference

With more than 100,000 deaths from COVID-19, the EU is keen to demonstrate solidarity after months of bickering that has dented public confidence and put the bloc’s global standing at risk.
30.06.2020 - 11:49

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday held out hope that European Union member states will overcome their differences on a multi-year budget of more than 1 trillion euros ($1.12 trillion) as well as a recovery fund at a summit of leader next month.

EU RECOVERY FUND WAS DISCUSSED

“Myriad talks” remain to be held, Merkel told a joint news conference with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron, but added: “We hope we can find a solution, even if there is still a long way to go.”

EU leaders agreed earlier this month that urgent action was needed to haul their coronavirus-hit economies out of the deepest recession since World War Two.

They will seek to bridge differences at their summit on July 17-18 over a proposal by the European Commission, the bloc’s executive, to borrow 500 billion euros from the market for a new recovery fund that would help revive economies hardest hit by coronavirus, notably Italy and Spain.

Macron reiterated his position that a deal on the EU budget and recovery fund could be found at the July summit. He said the fund should include 500 billion euros of grants to the hardest-hit countries.

“The chancellor and I put it on paper: It’s our absolute priority,” Macron said. “Without this, Europe wouldn’t rise to the challenge.”

Merkel, who had initially rejected a proposal by Macron for a recovery fund, dropped Germany’s long-held opposition to mutualising debt to fund other member states when it became clear that the pandemic was an existential threat to the EU.