May 18, 2020 / 7:48 PM / 19 days ago

ECB's Lagarde welcomes Franco-German EU recovery fund plan

PARIS, May 18 (Reuters) - European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde welcomed a proposed 500-billion euro ($546-billion) coronavirus recovery fund proposed by France and Germany on Monday, saying it would bring much-needed relief to the worst-hit EU countries.

“The Franco-German proposals are ambitious, targeted and welcome,” Lagarde said in a joint interview with four European newspapers, after announcement of the plan sent the euro higher and reduced Italian bond yields.

The proposals “open the way for long-term borrowing by the European Commission and above all allow significant direct budgetary aid to the member states worst affected by the crisis,” Lagarde told newspapers Les Echos, Handelsblatt, Corriere della Sera and El Mundo. ($1 = 0.9163 euros) (Reporting by Laurence Frost and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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