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Merkel shocks europhiles with damning assessment of 'fragile EU project'

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The EU have been embroiled in a huge spat about how the Brussels bloc will manage the financial burden caused by the coronavirus crisis. Angela Merkel warned the coronavirus pandemic that has swept through the bloc has exposed the weaknesses of the EU. She insisted Germany will use its six-month presidency of the European Council, which begins on July 1, to promote solidarity and economic growth among the remaining 27 member states.

Speaking in the German parliament, the Chancellor sid the most pressing issue facing the bc reeling from more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths and facing its worst recession since World War 2 is to quickly agree a multi-year budget and a recovery fund.

Ms Merkel also lamented the “rather national and not European” initial response to the pandemic by EU governments, including that from Germany.

The German Chancellor said: “The pandemic has revealed how fragile the European project still is.

“Cohesion and solidarity have never been more important than today.”

On Friday, EU leaders will once again debate the European Commission’s €750billion recovery plan to help struggling EU economies recover from the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

They will also mull over the €1.1trillion proposal for the next seven-year budget from 2021 until 2027.

The plan has caused much discontent in the EU, and will need the approval of all 27 remaining member states.

But Ms Merkel has plated down hopes a breakthrough could be made at the videoconference summit this week.

Instead, she expects an agreement on the huge spending plans at a physical meeting of EU leaders later this year.

The German chancellor said: “I will make the case that at the European Council we reach a decision about a multi-year financing deal and a recovery fund as quickly as possible.”

Spanish and Italian politicians criticised the European Union over its initial reaction to the coronavirus outbreak.

Since the virus has swept across the continent, forcing countries to shut borders, as the EU27 rushed into lockdown.

As nations slowly emerge from lockdown and ease measures, the realities of the impact of coronavirus are becoming clear.

But the Brussels bloc has still failed to agree to the coronavirus bailout fund, and the strategy they will implement to recover from the crisis.

Sweden, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands have all called for a responsible spending plan to fund the recovery.

It means a compromise is unlikely on Friday when EU27 leaders hold crunch video talks on the proposed €750 billion recovery fund.

This is a breaking story…more to follow



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