EU summit: Merkel ‘not optimistic’ of coronavirus aid deal

The German chancellor’s comments came ahead of a two-day EU summit in Brussels where leaders will try to finalize a €750-billion coronavirus recovery plan. Other leaders echoed her pessimism prior to the talks.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was expecting a tough round of negotiations on a multibillion-euro coronavirus recovery plan, at an EU summit in Brussels on Friday.

“We are going into the consultations with a lot of vigor, but I must also say that the differences are still very, very large and I cannot, therefore, predict whether we will be able to reach an agreement this time,” she said.

“It would be desirable, but we also have to face reality and we really need a great deal of willingness to compromise if we are to achieve something that is good for people and good for Europe in the face of the pandemic. That is why I expect very, very difficult negotiations.”

Doubtful of deal

Other leaders, including Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, echoed Merkel’s sentiment and expressed a lack of optimism for the two-day summit.

“I’m not optimistic, but you never know,” Rutte told Dutch broadcaster NOS as he arrived in Brussels to negotiate the 27-member bloc’s 2021-27 budget and a €750-billion ($856 billion) coronavirus recovery fund.

“I’m not so optimistic … We think the initial [budget] proposal is interesting, promising,” Nauseda told reporters upon arrival.

DW / Balkantimes.press

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