European Union leaders agree on $2T recovery spending plan

BRUSSELS — European Union leaders agreed on a $2.06 trillion spending package aimed at containing an unprecedented economic downturn by resorting to new measures that could ultimately deepen the bloc’s economic integration.

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The package, built around the bloc’s first-ever issuance of hundreds of billions of euros of common debt, came together early Tuesday after four days of talks among the bloc’s 27 leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron were forced to compromise on what would be spent and how much would be handed out in grants.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, second right, speaks with, from left, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Weary European Union leaders finally clinched an unprecedented budget and coronavirus recovery fund early Tuesday, finding unity after four days and as many nights of fighting and wrangling over money and power in one of their longest summits ever. (Stephanie Lecocq, Pool Photo via AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, second right, speaks with, from left, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Weary European Union leaders finally clinched an unprecedented budget and coronavirus recovery fund early Tuesday, finding unity after four days and as many nights of fighting and wrangling over money and power in one of their longest summits ever. (Stephanie Lecocq, Pool Photo via AP)

Leaders ultimately agreed on a €750 billion recovery plan. Of that, €390 billion will be offered in grants and the rest will come in the form of loans. That is down from €500 billion recently proposed by Brussels. The leaders also agreed on a multiyear EU budget of over €1 trillion that will run from next year to 2027.

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“We did it. Europe is strong. Europe is united,” European Council President Charles Michel, who hosted the summit, said in a press conference. “We have reached a deal on the recovery package and the European budget. These were of course difficult negotiations in very difficult times for all Europeans. This is a good deal. This is a strong deal.”

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