BERLIN, July 2 (Reuters) - European Union states must secure a deal over the summer on a recovery fund to help economies hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, a day after Germany assumed the bloc's presidency.
"We are clear where the difficulties are but we all know it would be good if we agree in July. If we need more time it would be a less good variant," she said, also referring to plans for a long-term EU budget.
"There must be a deal in the summer, I cannot imagine any other variant so we will work very hard to show a sign of our resolve," she said. (Reporting by Madeline Chambers and Thomas Escritt; Editing by Maria Sheahan)