Confidence low as EU leaders start €750bn rescue package talks

Senior politicians from member states are meeting in Brussels to discuss major deal that could include €500bn in grants

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron back the suggested rescue package. AP
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European Union leaders have warned major differences remain between member states over a €750 billion (Dh3.14 trillion) Covid-19 rescue package as they arrived in Brussels to begin what are expected to be difficult negotiations.

Joel Stalter of France plays his second shot on the fifth hole during day three of the Euram Bank Open. Getty
Joel Stalter of France plays his second shot on the fifth hole during day three of the Euram Bank Open. Getty

Key figures in the bloc including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are backing a deal made up of a mixture of loans and grants to help kick-start ailing economies.

But four countries mainly from Northern Europe – the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria – are less enthusiastic about the idea unless their counterparts in the south of the continent commit to reforms that can be overseen by the bloc.

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Arriving in Brussels for the talks, Mr Macron warned “it's our European project that is in play here”.

Mrs Merkel was also cautious.