Macron, Merkel to present EU recovery initiative Monday

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss a joint plan to spur the EU's recovery from the coronavirus crisis on Monday, which will be presented during a joint press conference, the French presidency said.


File photo: CGTN

The talks will "define a French-German initiative to respond to the COVID-19 crisis at the European level, in the areas of health, the economic recovery, the environmental and digital transition, and industrial sovereignty," the statement said.

The two leaders will meet via video conference beginning at 3:30 pm (1330 GMT), and the press conference is scheduled for around 5:00 pm.

Europe is just beginning to emerge from the lockdowns to halt the outbreak, which has taken a huge bite out of national economies and raised the prospects of damaging recessions that could last for months.

But EU members have been divided for weeks on the best response, after the bloc pledged to muster 500 billion euros ($540 billion) in emergency funding last month.

The debate has again exposed the divide between northern countries leery of exploding budget deficits, and hard-hit southern countries like Italy and Spain that are desperate for more spending.