EU raises €20 billion in 10-year bond to fund virus recovery

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Commission said on Tuesday it has raised €20 billion ($24.2 billion) through a 10-year bond as part of its plans to finance the 27-nation bloc’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the inaugural transaction of the NextGeneration EU program is the largest ever institutional bond issuance in Europe. The money will help finance the national recovery plans devised by member states to get their economies back on track.

Von der Leyen said the bond was priced at “very attractive terms” and that the European Union will pay less than 0.1% interest on it.

“Europe is attractive,” she said. “By the end of this year, we expect to have issued around 100 billion in bonds and bills.”

The commissioner in charge of Budget and Administration, Johannes Hahn, said the recovery plan’s first borrowing operation attracted interest from investors across Europe and the rest of the world, including central banks and pension funds.

To finance the stimulus, the EU’s executive arm said it will raise from capital markets up to an estimated €800 billion by the end of 2026. In total, member states have agreed on a €1.8 trillion budget and pandemic recovery package.

“Money can now start flowing to help (reshape) our continent, to build a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe,” said von der Leyen.

She will start visiting five countries this week — Portugal, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Luxembourg — as the EU will start giving its assessment of national recovery plans. Those recommendations will be given to the European Council — the institution representing member states — for approval at a later time.

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