EU leaders’ negotiation over recovery plan enters 3rd day with no major breakthrough

EU leaders’ negotiation over recovery plan enters 3rd day with no major breakthrough

BRUSSELS: The European Union (EU) special summit which aims to decide on the next seven-year budget and a massive recovery fund has dragged on for the third day with no major breakthrough seen until late on Sunday, reported Xinhua news agency.

The summit, the first physical meeting of the heads of state and government of the EU member states since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe, is supposed to seek consensus on the landmark €750-billion (US$857-billion) recovery package embedded in the over €1 trillion 2021-2027 budget.

The summit kicked off here on Friday and was supposed to end on Saturday according to its original schedule.

Spokespersons for the leaders kept updating their twitter accounts with postings of photos, showing EU leaders talking in small groups instead of plenary sessions.

“Day turning into evening, plenary yet to come,” tweeted a member of the Finnish group led by the country’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin around 6 pm local time.

Finland was said to stand close to the Frugal Four, namely the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and Sweden, which call for drastic cuts in grants given to the countries hardest hit by the pandemic.

Under the proposals on the table, the debt-financed €750 billion would be divided into grants and loans to help the member states recover from the crisis triggered by COVID-19, but the ratio remains in dispute, among others. (€1 = US$1.14)

–BERNAMA