Press play to listen to this article
Voiced by Amazon Polly
Anger flared and emotions ran high Sunday after EU leaders struggled through a third day of negotiations over plans for a landmark €1.82 trillion budget-and-recovery package.
In one of the more electric moments, French President Emmanuel Macron lashed out at Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who had walked out of the leaders’ gathering to take a phone call.
“You see? He doesn’t care. He doesn’t listen to others, has a bad attitude,” Macron said, deriding Kurz, who is part of a self-described frugal faction that has pushed to shrink the overall size of the budget plan and reduce the amount of grants to be given to countries to help them recover from the coronavirus crisis. “He handles his press and basta!” Macron said.
As the clock struck midnight, the summit entered its fourth day, making it one of the longest in the bloc’s history. But leaders were still deadlocked on the core question of the size of a proposed economic recovery fund.
They continued talking in small groups through the night and appeared to be closing in on a compromise. At around 5:30 a.m., European Council President Charles Michel gathered the leaders briefly and told them he would propose that the recovery fund pay out €390 billion in grants.
There was no immediate word, however, on whether everyone would sign up to that number and other details remained to be resolved. The leaders are due to reconvene at 4 p.m. Monday to try to work through the remaining sticking points.