EU Emergency Summit Continues for Fourth Day

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Talks in Brussels on an aid package for the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus and on the EU budget are only second in duration to the five-day summit in Nice in 2000. The emergency summit of the European Union has been going on for four days due to persisting disagreements over an aid package to restore the economy of countries affected by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The meeting of EU leaders will continue at 17.00 Moscow time on Monday, July 20. The negotiations were originally supposed to be completed in two days. Now, they are second in duration only to discussions at the meeting of the EU heads of state and government in Nice in December 2000, which lasted 5 days. The day before, the discussion in Brussels lasted late into the night. Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden and Finland opposed Brussels’ plans to allocate to the pandemic-hammered countries the 500 billion euros from a 750 billion package based on a grant. The struggle for compromise Such a position caused open discontent of French President Emmanuel Macron, who called such actions “selfish”. He said he was more likely to leave the summit than to sign a “bad deal”. In turn, EU Council President Charles Michel proposed reducing the portion of non-repayable subsidies to 400 billion euros. Before the start of the fourth day of the summit, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte announced some progress in the negotiations. According to him, the head of the European Council is working on a new proposal regarding the fight against the economic consequences of the pandemic. Another obstacle to reaching a consensus is the position of Hungary and Poland, which do not agree to link payments to compliance with the standards of the rule of law. In addition, the summit participants discuss the EU budget for 2021-2027. It will amount to 1.074 trillion euros, which is 13 billion less than the head of the European Council proposed before the EU summit in February. The European Commission, in its May proposal, envisaged a budget of 1.1 trillion euros.