EU leaders agree 'truly historic' €750 billion coronavirus recovery package

EU leaders agree 'truly historic' €750 billion coronavirus recovery package

EU LEADERS have emerged after a four day summit with an agreement which has been described as a "truly history" pandemic relief package.

The gargantuan €750 billion deal comprises of €390 billion in grants and €360 billion in loans to countries who have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis.

It was sealed after an intense 90 hours of negotiations in Brussels "which ended in success for all 27 member states, but especially for the people."

Taoiseach Michael Martin said that he welcomed the "substantial and significant" package of measures which he says will "go a long way to help reboot and re-energise economic recovery within the European Union".

"It's been a very challenging number of days negotiating this packed, but it has been worthwhile," said Martin.

"The solidarity displayed throughout this summit is something that I think will stand Europe in good stead in the future."

He added that "from an Irish perspective," he was satisfied that there was funding there to protect the Common Agricultural Policy, which will support Irish farmers, and he welcomed the special Brexit reserve fund of €5 billion, which will distribute funds to countries hit hardest by Brexit, as well as an increase to the Horizon fund.

"Overall this is a strong package and, from the Irish and European perspective, we welcome its wide-ranging and comprehensive breadth, which I think will do a lot to help Europe respond to the challenges of Covid-19," Martin said.

In an interview with RTE's Morning Ireland on Tuesday, Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne admitted that Ireland would be paying more than it would be receiving, but stressed that the deal was definitely worth the country's while.

"It is true that we will pay in more than we receive, but that does reflect our strong economic growth, and the Single Market participation," Byrne said.

"That's a huge benefit to the economy, for social, environmental, financial terms it's been absolutely massive."

President of the European Council Charles Michel said this morning: "This agreement sends a concrete signal that Europe is a force for action.

"It is about a lot more than money. It is about workers and families, their jobs, their health and their well-being.

"I believe this agreement will be seen as a pivotal moment in Europe's journey, but it will also launch us into the future."

French President Emmanuel Macron said the deal was "an historic change for Europe," while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe had shown itself equal to "the greatest crisis in the history of the European Union."