Merkel hopeful about progress on EU budget, virus package in July

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Berlin – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday she is optimistic that negotiations at an EU summit set for Friday will end in agreement about the bloc’s budget and a coronavirus economic stimulus package.

She expressed hope that there would be considerable progress in July, according to sources from a meeting of her party faction in parliament, but was unclear if things could be fully negotiated by that point either.

However, “it would be desirable,” she added.

If Europe is left without a budget for 2021 and without a virus recovery package, then it would be a “monstrosity born of an inability to negotiate’’.

“And we all want to avoid that,’’ she said.

Germany will take over the European Council Presidency starting on July 1.

On Thursday, Merkel plans to state to the Bundestag her goals for the presidency as well as for the coming EU summit.

The European Commission is planning an EU budget framework for 2021-27 amounting to around 1.1 trillion euros ($1.24 trillion) and wants to combine this with a debt-financed economic and investment programme worth 750 billion euros.

The heads of the EU member states plan to discuss the package for the first time via videoconference on Friday.

One sticking point among the 27 members is whether money financed by loans should be given as grants and whether recipients must promise reforms in return.

(dpa/NAN)


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