BRUSSELS:A messy compromise to unlock €500bn (£438bn) of EU support for countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic has been struck after Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, warned that the existence of the bloc was at stake.
EU finance ministers on a video conference call struck a deal late on Thursday after the Netherlands shifted on a demand for “economic surveillance” of countries benefiting from €240bn of credit lines via the European stability mechanism, a bailout fund for struggling member states.
Italy and Spain have in turn accepted a delay on agreement on so-called “coronabonds” that would allow member states to raise funds on the same terms from the financial markets. The issue of a “recovery fund” yet to be fleshed out will be put to the EU’s heads of state and government at a future summit.
( Image:A coffin prepared in Paris.)