European Union leaders today, Tuesday, agreed on a landmark stimulus package that will see the bloc issue 750 billion euros ($860 billion) of joint debt to help member states mitigate the economic downturn caused by covid-19 pandemic.

The agreement, in the early hours of Tuesday after more than four days of acrimonious negotiations in Brussels, required the unanimous approval of all 27 member states and represents a victory for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, who drafted an early outline for the proposal in May. The emergency fund will give out 390 billion euros of grants and 360 billion euros of low-interest loans.

Almost a third of the funds are earmarked for fighting climate change and, together with the bloc’s next 1 trillion-euro, seven-year budget, will constitute the biggest green stimulus package in history. All expenditure must be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s goal of cutting greenhouse gases.

“I am very relieved,” Merkel said afterward. “We have come up with a response to the biggest crisis the EU has faced.”


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