EU’s Centeno says coronavirus rescue deal ‘very close’

EU’s Centeno says coronavirus rescue deal ‘very close’

The chairman of an EU finance ministers meeting on further support for economies hit by the new coronavirus said on Thursday an agreement among all of the bloc's capitals was now "very close" after previous negotiations collapsed.

The Netherlands was the single opponent of a deal proposed on Wednesday morning after sixteen hours of negotiations.

But on Thursday afternoon, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to compromise, the chairman, Mario Centeno, said:

"We are very close to an agreement. I trust – I still trust – that this time we will all rise to the occasion. And show the necessary spirit of compromise, which is the bedrock of our union."

EU ministers were supposed to resume talks at 1700 GMT on Thursday, after an initial target to restart negotiations slipped by two hours. [Reuters]

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