German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron announced a new Franco-German fund worth 500 billion euros as part of the European Union’s coronavirus recovery plan.

Speaking during a joint video conference today, Merkel confirmed that the European Commission will borrow money to boost the European economy, which has been severely weakened by emergency measures implemented to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

“To support a sustainable recovery that restores and enhances growth in the EU, Germany and France support an ambitious, temporary and targeted recovery fund,” Merkel said.

“The recovery fund of 500 billion euro will provide EU budgetary expenditure for the most affected sectors and regions,” she added.

Macron joined Merkel on the video conference and noted that the new stimulus fund would be backed by the European Central Bank on the financial market.

“These 500 billion euros will have to be repaid,” Macron said, but “not by the beneficiaries” he added.

The French president also mentioned the need to “reduce our dependence on the outside in strategic sectors” and “better fight against predatory investments from other powers.”