Overcoming deep divisions over some of its terms, European leaders agreed Tuesday to a historic deal to rebuild EU economies ravaged by the coronavirus crisis.
Under the agreement, which was reached after a contentious five-day summit in Brussels, the EU will borrow 750 billion euros ($857.33 billion) for a recovery fund to be distributed among member states, with 390 billion euros ($446 billion) going toward grants to the hardest hit and the rest provided as loans.
Leaders also agreed to a new EU budget of nearly 1.1 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) for 2021-2027, creating combined spending power of about 1.8 trillion euros ($2 trillion).
“We did it! Europe is strong. Europe is united,” European Council President Charles Michel said at a press conference. “This is a good deal, this is a strong deal, and most importantly, this is the right deal for Europe right now.”
As CNN reports, “The European Union is battling a savage recession triggered by the pandemic, and the hardest-hit countries such as Italy and Spain urgently need fresh economic relief.” The European Commission has said it expects the EU economy to shrink 8.3% in 2020, considerably worse than the 7.4% slump predicted two months ago.