David Chance asks the questions that matter - and answers them - as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron try to push through a deal to battle impact of pandemic.
Germany and France have struck a deal that aims to provide €500bn in funding for the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
It is hoped that the funding will contribute towards bridging the gap between hardline northern states, such as the Netherlands, and the demands for debt mutualisation from countries such as Italy, who have been hit hard.
The fund was agreed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. It will now be put to a full vote of the bloc's member states and to national parliaments, so there is a possibility that it could still fail.
The funds will be paid on the basis of the financing needs of member states, so the likes of Italy and Spain will get more cash, while the payment ratio will be set according to the amounts each country pays into the EU budget.
It will borrow from capital markets on behalf of the entire EU and the fund will be managed by the Commission.
Irish Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, had previously backed Coronabonds, so the Government here will be happy to endorse the plan. The State's net contribution to the EU budget is around €700m.
What sets this arrangement apart from other plans is that the debt will not count towards that of individual states. That is a major departure and it will provide real help to those countries that have been hit hardest.
However, it is still short of full mutualisation, it is time-limited and specific, and so does not represent a first move towards a "fiscal union", which is feared by some northern countries.
It took a virtual press briefing from Europe's most powerful duo to get the proposals out of the starting blocks. The hope is that, with the reputations of Merkel and Macron behind it, the plan can overcome objections on both sides.
If the reaction of financial markets are any guide, this deal came as a major surprise, and a positive one at that, with yields on Italian 10-year bonds falling by 20 basis points to 1.68pc.