EU leaders agree to work on establishing joint coronavirus recovery fund
In a rare show of unity, EU leaders have agreed to ask the bloc’s Commission to create plan for a joint coronavirus recovery fund. While details of the mechanism are still to be ironed out, the move was hailed as a major step forward.
“We have expressed strong will to move forward together,” President of the European Council Charles Michel said on Thursday. He added that EU leaders had also agreed to coordinate on a gradual easing of current Covid-19 lockdown measures.
The recovery fund is expected to be linked to the EU’s next long-term budget, for the 2021-2027 period.
Establishing a joint coronavirus relief mechanism has been a major source of discord in the EU lately, as member states have been unable to agree on it - even in principle. While the worst coronavirus-affected nations have been calling for weeks for the issuance of joint Eurobonds, the more affluent nations, such as the Netherlands and Germany, have been very reluctant to share debt with those worst-affected by the pandemic.
Now, however, Germany’s leader Angela Merkel said that it “was clear to everyone that we need such a recovery fund,” and the joint solution serves her country’s interests too. “Things can only go well for Germany if they go well for Europe,” Merkel stated.