CNA Staff, Jul 22, 2020 / 06:00 am
A cardinal praised European Union leaders Tuesday for showing solidarity with pandemic-hit member states after they reached agreement on a coronavirus recovery fund.
Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, S.J., the archbishop of Luxembourg, told Vatican News July 21 that the EU’s 27 member states had “chosen solidarity.”
“I am glad that the 27 have got there. The European Union must express -- it is in its nature -- solidarity. This is part of the DNA of the European Union,” he said.
Hollerich, president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), said he was “very happy” that the fund would benefit Italy, Spain and France, the EU countries hit hardest by the pandemic.
COVID-19 has killed an estimated 135,000 EU citizens and damaged the bloc’s economy, which is expected to contract by 8.3% this year.
EU leaders agreed a 1.82 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) budget and coronavirus recovery fund early Tuesday morning after four days of intensive haggling.
The budget includes a 750 billion euro recovery fund, which will consist of 390 billion euros in grants and 360 billion euros in loans.
A group of countries nicknamed the "frugal five" -- the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Denmark -- blocked an initial plan to offer 500 billion euros in grants and 250 billion euros in loans.