Behind the scenes: how EU leaders sealed €750bn recovery deal

Crisps, clashes and through-the-night talks were all part of one of the most difficult negotiations in the EU’s history which finally resulted in a deal designed to help Europe recover from the effects of the pandemic

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, and Charles Michel, president of European Council, talk during the summit in Brussels which was one of the longest in the EU’s history. Picture: Getty

On Friday morning, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron were sipping mineral water on a sunlit terrace overlooking Brussels as negotiations began on a €750 billion European stimulus package they’d sketched out two months earlier.

By the early hours of Monday, the leaders of Germany and France were refuelling on crisps and wine as they battled to hold the talks together.

“Crunchtime,” said Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, as he joined them for yet another ...