With Europe's economic downturn taking hold, European leaders will have a virtual meeting on Friday to try and agree on a COVID-19 recovery package. On the table is an ambitious plan of shared debt totalling ?750bn, mostly through loans to help out those hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Europe is still divided on the issue.  On one side, the EU's four biggest economies ? Germany, France, Italy and Spain ? who back the European Commission's plan and four nations who don?t, the so-called frugal four: Austria, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. ?The ratio of grants and loans it is not in our favour and we also need a conditionality, said Austrian MEP Angelika Winzig. How can I explain to an Austrian entrepreneur whose company was closed as long as a Spanish company and his Spanish colleague gets more money in form of grants and perhaps the Austrian gets nothing, and for him, it is the same situation? ?I hate to borrow money, that is not sustainable, that is not in the interests of the next generation, Manfred Weber, president of the European Parliament's largest political group, the European People's Party, tells us.  But he asks, what is the alternative? In the Netherlands and Austria, all over Europe they are currently creating debt, they are going to the banks and borrowing money, that is what everyone is doing currently. Why? Because that is the only chance now to stabilise our economy, to create a perspective for the young generation to not risk a lost decade for the European economy, for the European Union as a whole.? For some in Brussels, the question over financing the recovery is an existential crisis for the EU. ?This is a matter of survival for the European Union and people need to understand that, said MEP Philippe Lamberts. He says the Netherlands needs to realise that the prosperity of the country depends on the European market. Without the European market there is no Dutch economy,? he said.  Few are expecting a breakthrough at this latest summit, it might not happen this side of the summer break. But if Europe?s economy is to take off again, leaders will need to find a compromise and fast. Stay with Euronews on Friday 19 June to get the latest from the crunch talks starting from 10 am CEST. Your view | Is the EU moving fast enough to agree a COVID-19 recovery fund? Let us know in the comments, below


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