French President Emmanuel Macron said that the Franco-German proposal for a €500 ($545) billion EU post-COVID economic recovery fund was the "first time" that the two countries had agreed creating joint EU debt on Monday. Speaking from Paris, but appearing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel via videoconference in Berlin, Macron said that the proposal represented a "common strategy," saying... Еще that it would help the "regions most strongly impacted by the crisis." The funds would come from the EU budget and would later be paid back by members as part of their normal budgetary contributions, with the fund distributing direct spending not loans. To provide the initial capital the proposal empowers the EU Commission to borrow money from the financial market on behalf of the bloc, creating jointly held EU debt for the first time. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen welcomed the proposal in a statement released online, calling it "constructive," and lauding it as recognising "the scope and the size of the economic challenge that Europe faces.