Before talks began, Chancellor Angela Merkel said there are grounds for hope. “Last night, after a long round of negotiations, we developed the framework for a possible agreement.”

The substantial programme she proposed with French President Emmanuel Macron in May was the basis for the decisions of the Commission, reported Chancellor Angela Merkel before the fourth day of negotiations. A significant percentage of grants has been agreed. And that, said the Chancellor, is “the response we need in an extraordinary situation”.

The “incredibly tough negotiations” are set to continue on Monday, she said, but then added, “I hope that we can complete the final stretch as well – although it will not be easy.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement before the fourth day of talks in the European Council

A “great willingness to compromise” is needed from all sides

On Friday, before the start of the Special European Council, Merkel had underlined that “everyone (was) entering the consultations with plenty of vigour”. The differences in the positions were, however, “still very, very big”. In order to reach a solution, “a great willingness to compromise is needed from all sides”. The Chancellor said that Germany, together with France, wanted to support the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. “We will now have to work hard,” she said.

Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron in conversation with Hungarian Prime Minister Orban during a break in the meeting on the second day. © Bundesregierung/Bergmann

Focus on finances

This is the first time that the members of the European Council are meeting in person since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. The question of how the economic and social consequences of the pandemic can be mitigated is a clear priority on the agenda. In concrete terms, the European Council will discuss the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the €750-billion emergency recovery instrument, Next Generation EU.

Aid or loans?

One important question concerns the amount of funding that will be available to member states as non-repayable aid or as loans. Speaking on the topic of European solidarity in April, Chancellor Merkel said: “Germany can only fare well in the long term if Europe fares well.” This is also the motto of Germany’s Council Presidency: “Together for Europe’s recovery.”

Further background information on the topics being discussed at the summit and live streams of the participants’ arrival and press conferences are available here: