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European Union negotiators clinch deal on huge budget, coronavirus plan

The budget is meant to take effect on Jan. 1

European Union | Coronavirus

AP | PTI  |  Brussels 

Coronavirus, covid, tests

After months of wrangling, negotiators reached an agreement Tuesday on the bloc's next seven-year budget and a support package worth a total of some 1.8 trillion euros ($2.1 trillion), which could enter force early next year.

The deal, clinched between European Council negotiators representing the EU's 27 member countries and the European Parliament, must still officially be endorsed by the bloc's ministers and the full EU legislature. The budget is meant to take effect on Jan. 1.

We have finally made it, Germany's EU envoy, Michael Clauss, said. We urgently need the recovery fund up and running in order to cushion the dire economic consequences of the pandemic.

Germany currently holds the EU's rotating presidency. Clauss expressed hope that all member countries and lawmakers understand the need to move quickly to endorse the package, which includes a 750-billion-euro ($887-billion) emergency recovery fund. He said "no one needs new hurdles and further delays as the pandemic continues to ravage European economies.

EU lawmakers said they secured an extra 16 billion euros ($19 billion) over what EU leaders were previously offering, and that most of this money would help protect European citizens against the impact of the pandemic. One billion euros ($1.2 billion) would be used to respond to future crises.

The member countries said the package improves education and research programs and puts more emphasis on climate change and environmental policies.

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First Published: Wed, November 11 2020. 01:13 IST