Time is pressing on EU leaders to agree budget, recovery fund -Merkel

epa08546047 Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) arrive for a joint press statement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not in picture) prior to a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, 14 June 2020. EPA-EFE/HAYOUNG JEON / POOL

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Time is pressing on EU member states to reach a deal on proposals for a long-term budget and a stimulus plan, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, adding that Germany would push for a compromise at a summit of leaders this week.

“It would be desirable to reach a quick result but I don’t know whether there will be success on Friday and Saturday,” Merkel said during a news conference with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. “Time is pressing.”

Merkel reiterated that there is no guarantee EU leaders will bridge their differences on the proposals by European Council President Charles Michel, designed to lift the bloc out of its worst economic crisis since World War Two at the summit on July 17-18.

Michel faces the daunting task of narrowing differences between the wealthy, thrifty north and the high-debt south, hit harder by COVID-19, over how to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

He has presented a long-term EU budget of 1.074 trillion euros and a recovery fund of 750 billion euros for pandemic-hammered economies, with two-thirds of that to be in the form of free grants and a third issued as repayable loans.

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