European Council President Charles Michel told EU leaders early Monday that he will put forward a proposal for a coronavirus recovery fund that would pay out €390 billion in grants and that he will suggest reducing the size of the rebates given to certain countries, according to an EU official.
While the Council chief did not go as far as announcing an agreement has been reached, diplomats say that there is movement toward a deal as the European Council summit continues into its fourth day.
“In order to have a final agreement, you need a final agreement on all different elements — also on rule of law, governance and so on, so we are not there yet,” the EU official said.
Michel is now expected to put forward a detailed proposal, which leaders will discuss this afternoon. One diplomat said there is “optimism.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, leader of the so-called frugal faction that has been pushing for a reduced volume of grants, did not go as far as endorsing the €390 billion figure. Nevertheless, he told reporters following the night-long talks that “nothing is guaranteed yet, but we now have a very good text on which consensus is slowly emerging.”
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, another member of the frugal group, was similarly upbeat. “Hard negotiations have just come to an end, we can be very satisfied with today’s result,” Kurz tweeted. “We’ll continue in the afternoon.”
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