EU leaders nudge towards joint coronavirus recovery aid
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders edged forward on Thursday towards joint financing of an economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic by agreeing to ask the European Commission to work out the details of such common support, EU sources said. Diplomatic sources following the video-conference of the bloc's 27 leaders said the discussion was less acrimonious than a month ago.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders edged forward on Thursday towards joint financing of an economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic by agreeing to ask the European Commission to work out the details of such common support, EU sources said.
Diplomatic sources following the video-conference of the bloc's 27 leaders said the discussion was less acrimonious than a month ago.
But the same divisions were clearly expressed with four "frugal" EU countries -- Austria, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands -- opposing recovery aid through grants.
The broader northern camp, which also includes Germany, spoke in favour of linking a new Recovery Fund to the bloc's next long-term budget for 2021-27, the sources said.
On the other side of the divide was Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who told his peers, according to an EU official:
"The amount of the Recovery Fund should be 1.5 trillion (euros) and provide grants to member states. Grants are essential to preserve the single market, a level playing field, and to ensure a symmetric response to an asymmetric shock."
One EU diplomat said: "They edged forward without any real meeting of the minds. It's up to the Commission now to square the circle."
(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Francesco Guarascio, Robin Emmott)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.