EU proposes 750 billion-euro coronavirus recovery fund

BRUSSELS (HRNW) — The European Union proposed Wednesday a 750 billion-euro ($825 billion) recovery fund to help countries weather a painful recession triggered by the coronavirus and bridge divisions over the conditions that should be attached for access to the money.

The fund, to be mostly made up of grants and tied to the 27 member nations’ common budget, comes as the world’s biggest trading bloc enters its deepest-ever recession, weighed down by the impact of the coronavirus. Virtually every country has broken the EU’s deficit limit as they’ve spent to keep health care systems, businesses and jobs alive.

While citizens across Europe are slowly returning to work and students move gradually offline and head back to classrooms, hardest-hit countries like Italy and Spain remain in desperate needs of funds and want to avoid any long-term wrangling. Barely off the press, the proposal received mixed reviews, with Dutch officials notably cool on it.

President Ursula von der Leyen told EU lawmakers as she unveiled the plan. “This is Europe’s moment. Our willingness to act must live up to the challenges we are all facing.”

Von der Leyen said that the fund, which is dubbed Next Generation EU and must be endorsed by every country, is “providing an ambitious answer,” and she urged European nations to set aside their divisions.

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