Huge economic rescue plan agreed by Europe leaders

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A plan for injecting billions of euros of emergency aid into Europe’s battered economies has been agreed by EU heads.

Meeting via video, they agreed to set up a massive recovery fund, closely tied to the bloc’s seven-year budget.

They also confirmed that €540bn (£470bn) of financial support would be released through existing mechanisms from 1 June.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the fund would mobilise €1 trillion of investment.

There has been bitter argument over how to fund the much-needed aid. But Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said “great progress” had been made on Thursday.

Italy – which has had the deadliest outbreak in Europe to date – had urged its EU partners, especially the richer countries of northern Europe, to show more solidarity.