In Brief: European leaders agree on 750 billion euro coronavirus recovery package

The package is aimed at helping member states out of the recession.

Photo by: Bruno Neurath-Wilson

 

By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson and Kate Brady

European leaders meeting in Brussels have agreed on a historic coronavirus recovery package worth 750 billion euros to help member states out of the recession.

The agreement came early Tuesday morning after four days and four nights of tense negotiations.

“The European citizens need a solution, the European Union needs a solution, needs an agreement to overcome this crisis and to prepare Europe for the future,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters on Monday.

“We are not there yet, but we are moving in the right direction.”

A key disagreement had been over how much money should be provided to member states as grants versus loans.

The so-called, “Frugal Four,” made up of Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden, were set on grants not exceeding 350 billion euros. But Germany, France and other countries believed 400 billion euros should be the minimum.

In the end, the sides agreed to 390 billion euros in grants and 360 billion euros in low-interest loans.

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An unexploded World War II bomb was defused in Berlin’s Neukölln district on Monday.

The 250-kilogram, or 551-pound, British bomb uncovered during gardening work in the Britz neighborhood of Neukölln last Friday led to the immediate evacuation of eight homes.

More people were evacuated on Monday and U-bahn service in the area was halted for a time as authorities defused the device.

Police spokesman Hartmut Paeth said that more than 1,700 residents, a supermarket, and a school were all affected by the 500-meter, or 1640 foot evacuation zone.

It was the third such bomb defused in the greater Berlin area in as many weeks.The two previous bombs were in Potsdam.

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Asparagus and strawberry prices are up this year, thanks to a decline in the German harvest.

The Federal Statistical Office reports the asparagus harvest dropped 19% over last year to 106,400 tons, due in part to a shortage of foreign workers.

The agency predicts this year’s strawberry harvest will likely be 13% less because of late regional frosts and a spring drought.

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

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