EU Leaders Discuss $840B ‘Next Generation EU’ Initiative for COVID Recovery

European Union leaders on Friday agreed to meet again in mid-July to discuss the European Commission’s coronavirus recovery measures, primarily powered by the proposed “Next Generation EU” plan.Friday’s meeting was a videoconference of the leaders of the 27-nation bloc to discuss the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a media conference after an EU summit, in video conference format, at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, June 19, 2020.Spain and Italy currently have the highest number of coronavirus cases in the EU, with approximately 245,575 and 238,011 cases respectively.“We want to prevent the unleveling of the playing field,” said Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, after Friday’s videoconference. “We want to prevent the widening of the divergences between member states, which would be a weakening of the single market.”The commission’s plan has provided grounds for disagreement and negotiations.German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters after Friday’s virtual meeting that further discussions would be necessary.“Everyone said what they thought was positive and of course brought in points of criticism, too,” the chancellor said. “The bridges that we still have to build are big.”Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven noted that “all in all, big improvements are needed before the both the long-term budget and recovery fund are good enough.”Portuguese Prime Minster Antonio Costa said all EU members must open “green pathways” to reach an agreement.“This is not the moment to draw red lines, it is the moment to open green pathways to a deal in July,” Costa said.  


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