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The European Commission President urged leaders to endorse the bloc’s plan to aid the economy after coronavirus without delay. The EU27 have been discussing the future long-term budget and a multi-billion-euro post-coronavirus recovery plan during summits. Today’s meeting is just the first in intense discussions that could culminate with a deal in July if member states can overcome their differences.
Ms von der Leyen said in the video posted on her Twitter: “Today we take a crucial step on the road out of the crisis.
“I’m happy to present to European leaders our recovery package called Next Generation EU.
“This proposal is ambitious and it is balanced.
“Together with the new MFF this is a huge stimulus of 1,850 billion euros.
“It does not only help the economies of the countries who were hit hardest by the virus, it also helps the countries whose economies have been hit hard indirectly because of the lockdowns.
“Europe must now invest and reform to get out of the crisis.
“Next Generation EU is designed to help Europe’s recovery be resilient, sustainable and digital. In other words, it will help Europe to modernise.
“This is a chance that Europe cannot afford to miss.
“I want a Europe which is better abled to weather global storms and provide a safe home for future generations.
“I’m convinced that for common success we must stay focused on the big picture.
“We must all pull together, we cannot afford any delay.”
It comes as the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the weakness of the European Union and Germany will use its presidency of the bloc to promote solidarity and economic prosperity among its 27 member states, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.
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In a speech to parliament, Merkel said the most immediate challenge facing the bloc reeling from more than 100,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 and facing its worst recession since World War Two was to agree on a multi-year budget and a recovery fund.
“The pandemic has revealed how fragile the European project still is,” said Merkel, lamenting the “rather national and not European” initial response to the pandemic by EU governments, including her own. “Cohesion and solidarity have never been more important than today.”
Germany takes over the EU presidency for six months on July 1 and Merkel said member states have high expectations of the bloc’s largest economy, which is also its paymaster.
EU leaders will debate the European Commission’s 750 billion euro (£678.94 billion) recovery plan for the first time on Friday, together with a 1.1 trillion euro proposal for the next EU budget for 2021-2027. The plan will need the approval of all member states.
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