European Union Leaders Agree on $858 Billion Recovery Package

The European Union, consisting of 27 nations, arrived at a €750 billion ($858 million) post-coronavirus recovery package early on Tuesday, after a marathon round of talks in Brussels that began Friday.

The deal is structured around €390 billion ($446.4 billion) in grants for member states hardest hit by the pandemic. The main beneficiaries under this yardstick should be Spain and Italy. A further €360 billion ($412 billion) will be available as low interest loans to member states.

The European Commission will borrow the $858 billion from international markets and disburse it to members.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that “it was a historic day for Europe.”

The leaders also agreed on a $1.25 trillion budget for the European Union for the next seven years.

“We did it! We have reached a deal on the recovery package and the European budget for 2021-2027,” tweeted European Council President Charles Michel. “This is a strong deal. And most importantly, the right deal for Europe right now.”

The package now needs to be ratified by the European Parliament.

Urusla von Der Leyen, President of the European Union Commission, tweeted: “Today we’ve taken a historic step, we all can be proud of. But other important steps remain. First and most important: to gain the support of the European Parliament. Nobody should take our European Union for granted. It is our common responsibility to deliver.”

Details of how much of the recovery package will percolate into the European arts sector are awaited. Meanwhile, the European Cultural Foundation’s Culture of Solidarity Fund is supporting imaginative cultural projects that reinforce European solidarity and the idea of Europe as a shared public space.

Individual European governments have some measures in place to support the arts, with separate initiatives announced by Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Ukraine.

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