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Conte urges closer ties with Spain, rapid accord on EU recovery fund

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Conte urges closer ties with Spain, rapid accord on EU recovery fund

Premier Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday called for even stronger bilateral relations with Spain, which like Italy has been hard-hit this by this year's COVID-19 pandemic and wants to see a swift European response to the crisis.


"This is the moment to sharply improve the already-excellent ties between our people," Conte said at a press conference in Madrid with his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez.

"The desire exists to strengthen political dialogue. We have agreed to hold an inter-governmental summit as soon as possible," Conte said.

Conte flew to Spain from Lisbon in a bid to firm up support from the two countries for Italy's stance on the European Union's planned 750 billion euro fund recovery fund to help the bloc's economies recover from the ravages of COVID-19.

At the press conference, Conte and his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez agreed that European Union states must reach an accord on the European Commission's proposed recovery fund this month.

"We must finalise the package of measures by the end of July," Conte stated.

"There must be no giving way," Conte said, warning the single market was at stake without a deal.

"We need a joint response from Europe," Sanchez said alongside Conte.

"There can be no other moment for the accord than beyond this month," he added.

The planned EU recovery fund is made up 500 billion euros of grants and 250 billion euros of loans.

The proposed fund has sparked divisions among EU governments with "frugal" countries like the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark insisting the package be based solely on loans that need to be paid back later.



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