European Union leaders gathered at Brussels for a key summit on Friday, meeting in person for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Discussions await the bloc over plans for an unprecedented 1.85 trillion euro ($2.1 trillion) EU budget and recovery fund.
As the summit got underway all leaders were wearing masks.
The usual hugs, handshakes and kisses were replaced by friendly nods and elbow bumps.
The jovial atmosphere was not expected to last long at what will likely be one of the most brutal and bruising summits of recent times.
What is slated as a two-day meeting could go even longer, if necessary, to bridge the differences between leaders.
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In This Story: EU
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In This Story: European Union
The European Union is a political and economic union of 27 member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of 4,233,255.3 km² and an estimated total population of about 447 million.