European Union leaders reached a landmark 1.82 trillion euro budget and Covid-19 recovery package early Tuesday morning.
After days of sometimes rancorous discussions, the heads of government agreed on a 750 billion euro package to fund post Covid-19 relief efforts across the bloc in the form of grants and loans.
The virus has killed 135,000 people around the bloc and sent economies into a tailspin.
Known as the Next Generation EU, it was first put forward by the European Commission in May. The Commission will itself borrow the money.
Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis said he was pleased with the deal.
“After four days and four nights of negotiation, we have obtained an impressive sum for Romania, 79.9 billion euros…. we will use this 80 billion euros to restore the infrastructure in Romania, to build hospitals, schools, to modernize the public systems. Also, a significant part of this money will be used for economic recovery,” he said.
Member states were split between those hit hardest by the outbreak and keen to revive their economies, and those more concerned about the costs of the recovery plan.
The so-called frugal four, now five countries _ Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Finland _ had opposed allowing 500 billion euros from the recovery fund to be offered in the form of grants to countries hardest-hit by Covid-19.
The group, led by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, originally set 375 billion euros as a limit, proposing that the rest be disbursed as loans.
The recovery plan includes 390 billion euros worth of grants and 360 billion euros worth of loans due to a compromise with the five countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed the agreement as setting “the financial foundations for the EU for the next seven years”.
“Europe has shown that it is able to break new ground in a very special situations such as this one,” she said.
French president Emmanuel Macron called it an „historic day for Europe”.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said his country would receive almost 29 billion euros of European funding over the next seven years.