First Day of EU Summit Ended with the Disagreement among the Participants

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Participants in the Brussels summit failed to agree on a € 500 billion non-refundable aid to countries affected by the coronavirus. Austria and the Netherlands opposed. The participants of the European Union summit on the first day of the Brussels meeting on Friday, July 17, were unable to agree on the provision of irrevocable assistance to the EU states that are hardest hit by coronavirus. As the AFP agency reports, the plans of Brussels to allocate 500 billion euros from the package of 750 billion on the basis of a non-repayable subsidy are opposed mainly by Austria and the Netherlands. Diplomats reported on the “difficult phase of negotiations” and on the “tough and not very constructive” position of the head of the Dutch government, Mark Rutte. German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not rule out that the parties would not agree on the second, final day of the summit. “Of course, we want to be in solidarity, but we should take into account the interests of Austrian taxpayers,” emphasized Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The Netherlands representatives propose to link the assistance with implementing reforms in the affected countries, which Italy and Spain do not agree with. In addition to the assistance package, the summit participants are discussing the EU budget for 2021-2027, which will amount to 1.074 trillion euros. The summit is held with increased epidemiological safety measures. At the summit, there is a ban on handshakes and the obligation to wear masks if it is impossible to maintain social distance. At the same time, as the DW correspondent reports, not all politicians stick to these rules.