"A good signal"
"It was not easy, but for me what counts is that we knuckled down and that we are all convinced that we want to make a go of the outcome," said Chancellor Angela Merkel at a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron following the European Council meeting. Since the Franco-German initiative was presented on 18 May, she added, Europe has come a long way and has demonstrated that in a unique situation it is ready and willing to break new ground.
The heads of state and government of the 27 EU member states agreed after several long days of negotiations in Brussels to a recovery fund worth a total of 750 billion euros, including 390 billion euros in grants and guarantees. The multiannual financial framework for the period 2021 to 2027 was also agreed. "We have now set the scene for the financial foundations of the EU over the next seven years, and at the same time have agreed on a response to the gravest crisis in the history of the European Union," said Chancellor Angela Merkel. The basic structure of the recovery fund, as proposed by the Commission, has been retained, she said, and many of the proposals contained in the Franco-German initiative have been incorporated.
Offsetting the impacts of the pandemic
It was the first time the members of the European Council had met face to face since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. There was a clear focus on how to offset the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
In terms of European solidarity, the Chancellor said back in April, "Germany will only do well in the long term if Europe does well." The motto of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union is thus "Together for Europe’s recovery".
The multiannual financial framework (MFF) lays out how much the EU may spend within a given period, generally seven years. The MFF does not specify individual programmes but only the ceilings on spending in overarching thematic areas. The next MFF will run from 2021 to 2027, and will be adopted during Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.