Sat, 15 Aug 2020

LISBON, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa met his Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte here Tuesday and discussed the upcoming European Council meeting that will decide the approval of the 750-billion-euro (846 billion U.S. dollars) EU economic recovery plan.

At a joint press conference with Conte, Costa said: "it is necessary to move forward with ambition, because the situation is very serious across Europe, and the best way to save resources is to attack the crisis."

"It is a crisis where, beyond the health dimension, there has been a terrible impact on the economy, employment and household income and that is why it is more important than ever that we approve the economic and social recovery plan," Costa said.

"It is essential that, at the European Council next week, we can reach an agreement on the proposal," he said.

For his part, Conte said that both Portugal and Italy "will play their parts" since the two "have always cultivated a dialogue, intense, direct, frank and we share common positions."

"We share our respective national realities, but without losing sight of our home -- Europe. There will be no countries that will win and others that will lose. We either win together, or we lose together," said Conte.

"There is no more time, and it is necessary to have the courage to decide immediately," he said.

Southern European countries, such as Italy, Spain and Portugal, are busy with shuttle diplomacy these days to coordinate their stance over the EU recovery plan.

On July 17-18, EU leaders will have their first in-person conference in Brussels since the COVID-19 pandemic, to discuss the recovery plan to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and a new long-term EU budget.

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