June 19, 2020 / 12:54 PM / 13 days ago

Merkel: EU leaders to continue talks on EU finances in mid-July

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the lower house of parliament Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, June 18, 2020. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN (Reuters) - European Union leaders will continue their negotiations on establishing the post-coronavirus recovery fund in mid-July, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday after a videoconference with her counterparts from around the bloc.

While nobody disagreed that the European Commission should issue bonds to finance the fund, there was still disagreement over the Franco-German proposal for grants to be made available to states that were severely affected by the coronavirus crisis.

“It was clear that we wouldn’t reach a result today but we will continue discussions in mid-July,” she told reporters after a videoconference of European Union leaders, adding that an agreement in summer was important so that money from the recovery fund could quickly be disbursed.

“Everyone said what they thought was positive and of course brought in points of criticism too. The bridges that we still have to build are big,” she added.

Merkel said monies from the recovery fund would be available at the start of 2021 at the earliest.

“I made clear that we find the period of 2021-2024 very long. We believe that we should start repaying the money already in this financing period and not in the next,” she said. “That would really increase credibility.”

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Michelle Martin

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