BRUSSELS (AP) — The EU’s executive is proposing a 750 billion-euro ($825 billion) recovery fund to help the bloc’s economy through the painful recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said Wednesday.
Gentiloni, who is in charge of economic affairs at the commission, wrote in a tweet that the move is “a European turning point to face an unprecedented crisis.”
However, the 27-nation EU remains deeply divided over what conditions should be attached to the funds, and Wednesday’s proposal from the EU’s executive arm is likely to set off weeks of wrangling. Details of the proposal are due to be unveiled later Wednesday.
The move comes with the world’s biggest trading bloc set to enter its deepest-ever recession as the impact from the coronavirus ravages economies. Virtually every country has broken the EU’s deficit limit as they’ve spent to keep health care systems, businesses and jobs alive.
Earlier this month, the leaders of Germany and France — historically, the two main drivers of EU integration — agreed on a one-time 500 billion-euro ($543 billion) fund, a proposal that would add further cash to an arsenal of financial measures the bloc is deploying to cope with the economic fallout.
That plan would involve the EU borrowing money in financial markets to help sectors and countries that are particularly affected by the pandemic. The European Commission’s blueprint is likely to resemble the Franco-German plan in many ways while attaching the fund to the EU’s next long-term budget.