In Brief: Merkel and Macron propose 500 billion euro fund to help EU recover from COVID-19 pandemic

But the biggest obstacle remains, and that’s a bloc-wide agreement.

Photo by Mauro Sbicego on Unsplash

 

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson and Benjamin Restle

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a 500 billion euro recovery fund to get the EU economy back on track from the pandemic-induced recession.

Merkel told reporters yesterday during a joint press conference that the goal of helping Europe requires an “extraordinary, unique effort,” which Germany and France are ready for.

Macron called the plan a true, joint strategy that will help the EU emerge stronger.

But the biggest obstacle remains, and that’s a bloc-wide agreement. Poorer states prefer the recovery funds to be paid as grants, while wealthier nations want the money to be loans so they don’t ultimately get stuck with the bill.

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A refugee home near Bonn is under quarantine following a coronavirus outbreak among the residents.

Local authorities say more than a quarter of the 300 asylum seekers living at the Sankt Augustin center have tested positive for COVID-19.

Infected residents have been isolated in a separate section of the home, while those who tested negative are being relocated to other centers.

Several other coronavirus outbreaks have occurred at refugee reception centers across Germany in recent weeks with the first confirmed COVID-19 case reported in March.

Asylum-seekers are in close quarters at such centers, sharing bathrooms and bedrooms, which makes it difficult to practice social distancing.

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Public broadcaster rbb reports an elementary school in Spandau was closed after a teacher there tested positive for COVID-19.

As a precaution, the “Grundschule am Weinmeisterhorn” will remain closed this week.

Another teacher at a second, Spandau primary school also tested positive for the virus, but the “Grundschule am Birkenhain” will remain open because the teacher in question was in limited contact with other staff or students.

Local health officials say COVID-19 tests will be made available to students and staff.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.

For up-to-date information on what you should be doing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, check our fact sheet. 

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