EU reaches ‘pivotal’ coronavirus recovery deal

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EU leaders have struck a deal on a huge post-coronavirus recovery package following a fourth night of talks.

It involves €750bn (£677bn; $859bn) in grants and loans to counter the impact of the pandemic in the 27-member bloc.

The talks saw a split between nations hardest hit by the virus and so-called “frugal” members concerned about costs.

It is the biggest joint borrowing ever agreed by the EU. Summit chairman Charles Michel said it was a “pivotal moment” for Europe.

The deal centres on a €390bn programme of grants to member states hardest hit by the pandemic. Italy and Spain are expected to be the main recipients.

A further €360bn in low-interest loans will be available to members of the bloc.

The package will allow members to maintain spending in the aftermath of lockdowns that badly affected public finances.

It includes checks that the funds will not be misused. Recipients will have to submit spending plans to the European Commission, and a majority of states will be able to block projects.