By Beatriz Rios
Jul 17, 2020
Pressure is mounting on EU leaders to get over their differences as they meet on Friday (17 July) in person for the first time since the start of the coronavirus outbreak to close a deal on an unprecedented stimulus package to tackle the socio-economic fallout of the crisis.
EU heads of states and governments are meeting on Friday and Saturday in Brussels to negotiate a €1 trillion budget for the next seven years and a €750 billion recovery fund.
The meeting will take place in the biggest room of the Europa Building, the Brussels headquarters of the European Council, in order to guarantee social distancing between participants and with reduced delegations assisting them in the negotiation.
Bilateral contacts between leaders and European Council president Charles Michel have intensified over the past weeks on the basis of an updated proposal put forward by the former Belgian prime minister.
But in spite of attempts to find a compromise, positions are still far apart.
“We are not there yet, an agreement is not guaranteed, on the contrary, there are still important differences,” an EU official said, explaining that the meeting will start with a first round of interventions on the basis of which Michel could come up with a new text.