Speed Reads


EU's coronavirus relief deal may have benefited from Brexit, economist suggests

After days of negotiations, European Union leaders on Tuesday agreed to a "historic" $2.1 trillion deal, which includes $857.33 billion in recovery funds to help member states climb out of the economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Does the bloc have Brexit to thank for getting it done?

In his positive analysis of the deal Erik Fossing Nielsen, the chief economist at UniCredit, described the pact as perhaps the "first clear sign" of the United Kingdom's controversial departure actually benefiting the EU. Nielsen theorizes that if London was at the table, a deal "of this magnitude" would have been unlikely. That's because, as he sees it, the U.K. "would have demanded a myriad of opt-outs" that the so-called frugal four — the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, and Denmark (and in this case Finland) — may have gone along with.

In actuality, those states were able to win some concessions without torpedoing the deal completely. Ultimately, Nielsen says the agreement represented "a great deal of solidarity among the bloc," though he noted France and Germany came away as big political winners, since they mostly got their way. He also deemed the U.K. a loser despite its absence, predicting that EU policies will continue to affect the country, which will in turn lack any sort of influence. Read the full analysis here.