June 19, 2020 / 8:52 AM / 21 days ago

Austria's Kurz says he hopes for agreement on EU recovery fund in July

VIENNA, June 19 (Reuters) - Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Friday said he hopes the European Union will agree on a recovery fund as soon as July, but first member states need to discuss which countries should benefit most and what the money will be used for.

The 27 leaders will discuss the recovery plans for the bloc on Friday morning by videolink, with the aim of uniting behind an unprecedented 750 billion euro ($841.20 billion) stimulus programme financed via borrowing by the executive European Commission.

The Austrian government has so far opposed the proposed distribution of grants.

Kurz said on Friday he was aiming for a comprehensive package. Asked whether he would only support grants with clear guidelines and checks, he said: “Of course.”

He said that if someone expected grants, it was perfectly legitimate for the paying party to check how the money is used and whether it is used effectively.

$1 = 0.8916 euros Reporting by Kirsti Knolle Editing by Michelle Martin

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