Germany and France agreed to back a plan for a €500 billion ($543 billion) recovery fund to help the European Union weather the worst recession in living memory.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron called for Europe to emerge stronger from the coronavirus crisis. In a show of unity, the leaders of the EU's two biggest economies appeared together in a virtual press briefing on Monday amid deep divisions over the recovery fund.
Ms. Merkel said the fund will be within the framework of the bloc's budget, which will have authority to borrow money.
Even as Germany and France find common ground, the world's largest trading bloc is far from reaching an agreement over a package to help stricken member states.
The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, floated a €2 trillion plan last month that would have seen the EU borrow €320 billion on capital markets. Countries are still negotiating the ultimate size of the fund and how much would be available as grants vs. loans. The latest proposal is due on May 27.