Angela Merkel: More time needed to discuss EU recovery fund

The German chancellor warned 'we will be living with this virus for a long time to come.'

Angela Merkel: More time needed to discuss EU recovery fund

A videoconference among EU leaders Thursday won’t result in a decision on the size of a planned coronavirus recovery fund, Angela Merkel said.

“A European economic recovery plan could support the necessary recovery over the next two years,” the German chancellor told the Bundestag in a speech ahead of Thursday’s virtual summit, but added: “Our discussions today will not yet be about determining the details or deciding on the scope.”

Merkel said in the coming weeks the European Commission should examine “how the various sectors of the European economy are affected and what action is required as a result.”

Competing ideas have been floated for the recovery program ahead of the meeting. Spain proposed a fund of up to €1.5 trillion based on grants to EU countries, while other countries like Austria insist the money must be issued via loans that have to be paid back.

The European Commission has proposed that total recovery measures should total up to €2 trillion.

Merkel said the recovery fund should be linked to the next seven-year EU budget, rather than setting up a separate process, as France and Italy suggested.

The chancellor said Germany “should be prepared, in a spirit of solidarity and over a limited period of time, to make quite different contributions to the European budget and that means significantly higher contributions.”

Merkel also warned Germans “we will be living with this virus for a long time to come” and, although she emphasized the importance of testing, she said the only way out of the crisis was a vaccine.

She also said she would urge her EU partners to discuss further integration in areas like the single market, digital policy and security and defense.

Source : Politico EU More   

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Boris Johnson’s coronavirus nurse says caring for PM was ‘overwhelming’

"I hope I can meet him again one day when he is fully recovered," Luis Pitarma said.

Boris Johnson’s coronavirus nurse says caring for PM was ‘overwhelming’

A nurse praised by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson following his release from hospital after being treated for COVID-19 has given an insight into what it’s like to care for a world leader.

“I felt nervous at first – he was the Prime Minister,” Luis Pitarma, the Portuguese-born nurse who was chosen to take care of Johnson when the PM went into intensive care, wrote on the website of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

“The responsibility I was going to hold in my hands was quite overwhelming,” he said. “I didn’t really know how to address him – should I call him Boris, Mr Johnson or Prime Minister?”

But Pitarma said the problem was solved when Johnson told him to call him Boris: “That made me feel less nervous because he took away any formality.”

While Johnson was the first “high profile” politician Pitarma has cared for, “he was also a patient like any other patient, a life like any other life.”

The pair had several conversations, Pitarma said, including about Portugal and how he dreamt about working at St Thomas’ Hospital after hearing about Florence Nightingale and her links to the historic infirmary.

“He said it was amazing that I wanted to work here for so long and was glad I was there when he needed our care,” Pitarma said, adding: “It was a pleasure to look after him.”

Pitarma also said he was overwhelmed and “quite emotional” when the PM thanked him in a televised speech following his release from the hospital. Johnson also thanked “Jenny [McGee] from New Zealand.”

“I hope I can meet him again one day when he is fully recovered,” Pitarma said.

Source : Politico EU More   

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