After three days of marathon talks, European leaders have been unable to reach an agreement on a landmark initiative to fund Europe’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Leaders will reconvene in Brussels on Monday afternoon.
After all-night discussions, talks stalled early Monday after leaders couldn’t find a way to break through on long list of disagreements including the size of loans and grants required for the EU’s economic recovery plan.
European Council President Charles Michel had proposed that countries would be able to access a recovery package of more than $857 billion (€750 billion) from which $571 billion (€500 billion) would be paid as grants.
Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, the so-called “Frugal Four,” had vehemently opposed the idea of €500 billion in grants over concerns of loading their countries with national debt to fund the spending of other countries.
Countries like Spain and Italy said they couldn’t accept a reduction in the volume of grants.
“For us, we don’t believe in this grants-based system,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, speaking to journalists on Friday. The Netherlands had proposed linking access to grants to an increased governance mechanism to ensure that countries met the requirements for receiving money.