Italy calls on Germany for a rapid agreement on EU Recovery fund

German Chancellor Merkel told Italian PM Conte the deal could be reached at Friday summit

Meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday Italian PM Giuseppe Conte called for rapid agreement on the EU Recovery fund. The longer we wait, the slower recovery would take place, he said, cited by ANSA.

"We have to act quickly, react quickly, because history teaches that the best reaction is not worth so much if it comes too slowly," Conte pointed out. He predicted that the EU's internal market would soon collapse without quick action. "And that cannot be in anyone's interest, certainly not in the interest of a country like Germany."

Merkel welcomed Conte to Meseberg Castle in Germany where the two leaders conferred on the proposed EU coronavirus Recovery Fund ahead of the EU summit on the issue in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Merkel said she thought there would be an agreement at the summit even though positions were "in part diovergent" at the moment.

The European Commission has proposed a 750 billion euro Recovery Fund, more of it coming in grants than loans. 'Frugal' northern European countries want a lower total and more loans than grants.

Conte has enlisted the support of southern European countries in pushing for the original format, and a deal by the end of this month. The countries who are against the format say there is no hurry to get a deal. Germany as duty chair of the EU is trying to negotiate a deal between the two groups of countries, ANSA reported. Merkel was scheduled to host Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez in her chancellery in Berlin on Tuesday. Sanchez, like Conte, is pressing for a major EU effort after both countries were badly hit by the pandemic, both in terms of deaths and economically.

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