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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

EU finance ministers to discuss recovery plans

European Union (EU) economy and finance ministers are set to meet on Friday, with discussions expected to largely focus on COVID-19 recovery measures.

The ministers’ agenda for the video conference also includes convergence and capital markets reports, but the most important issue will likely be what measures to adopt to respond to the economic crisis unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The European Union’s economy is expected to contract by 8.3 per cent in 2020, according to a commission forecast issued on Tuesday.

The agenda sets out discussions on the safety nets of the European Investment Bank and the European Stability Mechanism.

Although officially related to other stability mechanisms, Friday’s meeting could also give room for some discussions about next week’s summit, at which EU heads of governments will attempt to thrash out an agreement on a multi-billion-euro recovery fund.

The European Commission proposed a 750-billion-euro (848-billion-dollar) package, consisting of 500 billion euros in grants and 250 billion euros in loans.

The plan is controversial, with some EU countries opposing the balance between loans and grants or the allocation criteria suggested by the commission.

European Council President Charles Michel, on Wednesday said he would present a new proposal at the end of this week. (dpa/NAN)

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