European Union leaders failed to unlock an agreement on a 750 billion-euro response to the coronavirus pandemic after a second day of sparring in Brussels and will come back to try again on Sunday.
A crucial late-night meeting including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Germany’s Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron of France ended abruptly in a dispute over how much of the package should be disbursed as grants and how much as loans.
Germany and France are insisting that at least 400 billion euros should be handouts and Rutte and four other fiscal hawks from northern Europe are pushing for a much lower figure, a French diplomat said.
“They are walking away grumpy,” Rutte told reporters afterward. “A compromise is possible tomorrow but there remain big issues.”