They failed to rally behind a €750 billion proposal put forward by Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s president, at a crunch video conference. After over four hours of bitter wrangling, the EU27 decided to walk away from the talks and try again in a month. Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen announced that leaders would likely be able to hold a face-to-face summit for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak.
He said: “It is the expectation that we will meet physically in around one month’s time.”
Speaking after the summit, European Council President Charles Michel urged leaders to find an agreement “as soon as possible”.
“We’re aware it’s essential to take a decision as soon as possible,” he told reporters.
Mr Michel suggested the bloc was moving towards a “consensus” and signalled the start of proper negotiations over the recovery fund.
Mrs von der Leyen said it was crucial for the EU to make progress on the bailout and the next long-term budget.
The German said: “We are now also six months away from the end of the current MFF and in the midst of the deepest economic crisis provoked by COVID-19.
“It is therefore essential that we lose no time in setting our economic and social recovery on a firm footing.”