EU launches 200b-euro stimulus package
The European Commission called on Wednesday for a 200 billion euros (259 billion dollars) stimulus package to snap Europe's economy out of recession through spending hikes and tax breaks.
"Coordinated European action can and will make a difference," commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso stressed as he unveiled the wide-ranging package.
"Business as usual is not an option."
Of the total, 170 billion euros will come from national government budgets and about 30 billion euros from the budgets of the EU and the European Investment Bank.
Barroso said the bulk of the measures would be rolled out as soon as the beginning of next year and the rest over the course of 2009 and 2010.
The combined national and EU campaign, worth the equivalent of 1.5 percent of the European Union's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), exceeded the 130 billion euros that Barroso had mooted as a possible target in recent days.
The European Commission will urge member states to formally sign on to the plan at a December 11-12 summit and asked finance ministers to ensure that it is followed up afterwards.