Taoiseach welcomes EU budget and coronavirus fund

The Taoiseach has hailed the EU agreement on a 1.82 trillion euro budget and coronavirus recovery fund.

Micheal Martin said it is a strong deal which includes a substantial and significant package of measures.

The budget and recovery fund was finally agreed in the early hours of Tuesday after a marathon four-day summit in Brussels.

“I welcome what is a very substantial and significant package of measures – 1.8 trillion, which I think will go a long way to help reboot and re-energise economic recovery within the European Union,” said Mr Martin.

“It has been a very a challenging number of days negotiating this package but it has been worthwhile and the solidarity displayed through this summit is something I think will stand Europe in good stead going into the future.

“The Covid 19 challenge is unique – its impact in terms of our economic, social and political life is very severe and it necessitated a response of this scale and magnitude.”

Agreement was struck over a one trillion euro EU budget for the next seven years and a 750 billion euro coronavirus fund, made up of loans and grants for the countries hit hardest by the pandemic.

European leaders had been at odds over what percentage of the fund would be in the form of grants or repayable loans.

An initial proposal to have 500 billion euros of grants was negotiated down to 390 billion euros during the marathon summit.

The Taoiseach said he was particularly pleased that there was significant funding to protect the Common Agricultural Policy.

He also welcomed a five billion euro reserve fund to support countries worst affected by the impact of Brexit.

Mr Martin also noted that funding for research and development through the EU’s Horizon Fund is also increasing.

“Overall this is a strong package and, from the Irish and European perspective, we welcome its wide-ranging and comprehensive breadth, which I think will do a lot to help Europe respond to the challenges of Covid 19,” he said.