European Union leaders have reached an "historic" deal on a massive stimulus plan for their coronavirus-hit economies at a pre-dawn meeting after a fractious summit that lasted almost five days.
Summit chairman Charles Michel tweeted "Deal" shortly after the 27 leaders finally reached agreement at a plenary session. "This agreement sends a concrete signal that Europe is a force for action," Mr Michel said at a dawn news conference.
"It is about a lot more than money. It is about workers and families, their jobs, their health and their well-being. I believe this agreement will be seen as a pivotal moment in Europe's journey, but it will also launch us into the future."
"It has been a long summit and a challenging summit but the prize is worth negotiating for", Taoiseach Micheál Martin said as the Brussels summit approached the record length set at a 2000 meeting in the French city of Nice of almost five full days.
He said: "I welcome what is a very substantial and significant package of measures - €1.8 trillion - which I think will go a long way to help to reboot and reengineer economic recovery within the European Union.
"It has been a very challenging number of days negotiating this package, but it has been worthwhile," he added.
"The Covid-19 challenge is unique - its impact in terms of our economic, social and political life is very severe and it necessitated a response of this scale and magnitude."
The Taoiseach said he was particularly pleased that there was significant funding to protect the Common Agricultural Policy.
He also welcomed a €5bn reserve fund to support countries worst affected by the impact of Brexit.
Mr Martin also noted that funding for research and development through the EU's Horizon Fund is also increasing.
"Overall this is a strong package and, from the Irish and European perspective, we welcome its wide-ranging and comprehensive breadth, which I think will do a lot to help Europe respond to the challenges of Covid-19," he said.