The arrival of the heads of state and government can be followed live from 8.30. The meeting will then begin at 10.00 with a traditional exchange of views with the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli.

President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said ahead of the meeting that “a deal is essential,” adding that “We will need to find workable solutions and come to an agreement, for the greater benefit of our citizens.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed many lives across Europe and dealt a serious blow to our economies and societies,” said Michel. “All our efforts must focus on building a sustainable recovery.”

The special summit will continue on Saturday, July 18.