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EU agrees €500 billion coronavirus rescue package, but ECB says €1.5tr needed

EU finance ministers have agreed a €500bn rescue package for European countries badly impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

Mario Centeno, who heads the group of Eurozone finance ministers, announced the deal on Friday after lengthy discussions which ended last night in Brussels.

France’s Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire has described the agreement as the most important economic plan in EU history and following the deal, tweeted "Europe decides and shows itself to be equal to this serious crisis".

However, EU ministers chose not to back a demand from France and Italy to create so called “coronabonds”, after continued resistance from some countries towards the idea of sharing out the cost of the crisis.

The half trillion dollar package agreed is less than the 1.5 tn which the European Central Bank suggests the bloc might need to tackle the crisis.

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned the world is facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Kristalina Georgieva said the coronavirus pandemic would lead to ‘sharply negative” economic growth this year.