EU Stimulus Funds Set for Timely Rollout After Parliament Vote

European Union lawmakers approved the bloc’s 1.8 trillion-euro ($2.2 trillion) stimulus package, clearing the way for the flow of much-needed funds just as the latest wave of coronavirus infections ravages the continent’s economies.

The European Parliament vote comes a week after leaders struck a deal that will link EU funds to rule-of-law compliance. The agreement paves the way for the EU to put into effect not just its seven-year budget but a 750 billion-euro pandemic relief package that will be financed by joint debt.

”We have a historic budget for a historic moment,” European Parliament President David Sassoli said in a statement. “With this vote, the European Marshall Plan can start, to help us get out of the dramatic crisis generated by Covid, and lay the foundations for a new beginning: a greener and fairer Europe.”

The spending plans, which still need the consent of the national parliaments, will allow the EU to issue the commonly backed debt that it will then hand out to its members in grants and concessional loans. The funds will be designed to help nations implement reforms and investments with a least a third of the amount earmarked for climate spending.

Hard-hit EU economies are expected to get the first disbursements from the pandemic recovery fund by the end of the first half of 2021.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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