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EU approves $850M in earthquake aid for Italy

BRUSSELS (AP) – The European Union has approved (EURO)670 million ($850 million) to help Italy’s Emilia Romagna region recover from this year’s back-to-back earthquakes, despite its disagreement on other budgetary issues.

Tuesday’s approval by the 27 member states came after pressure from the European Parliament, which had called foot-dragging on the issue shameful.

The earthquake aid was part of the protracted 2012-2013 EU budget negotiations, which hit a stalemate last week.

An attempt to rescue the talks failed Tuesday, but in a show of goodwill toward Italy, the meeting of budget ministers let the earthquake aid pass.

Twenty-four people died in two temblors that struck the agricultural and industrial region in May.

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