Angela Merkel says Covid-19 will mark the German EU Presidency

The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis will shape the six months of the German presidency as head of the European Union, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a roadmap press conference for months to come.

While Germany took the rotating presidency of the European Union, Angela Merkel gave her vision of her role in the coming months at a press conference on Wednesday, July 8. For the German chancellor, the difficulty of the economic crisis due to the corona virus requires that a recovery compromise be found this summer.

“It is in our interest to help the regions most affected by the epidemic,” said Angela Merkel. “We want Europe to come out of there more united and stronger,” she added, saying that the fight against coronavirus would shape the six months of this presidency.

The main lines of the German EU Presidency

“We need extraordinary solidarity, everyone is ready, especially Germany, to overcome the pandemic, to accept its consequences,” the chancellor said.

An extraordinary summit is planned for Brussels on 17 and 18 July, the first to bring together the leaders of the 27 EU countries since the pandemic. They will have to vote unanimously, which promises tough negotiations on the € 750 billion recovery plan proposed by the European Commission. This proposal is supported by the European Union’s long-term budget (2021-2027) of EUR 1,100 billion.

“Compromise”

“Our common goal is to find a quick point of agreement as time runs out because of the economic crisis. We must not waste time. The poorest pay the price,” said the German leader.

She warned that everyone would “compromise”.

But “the efforts needed today must not only be provided by the economically strongest countries,” she added, in the direction of the so-called “thrifty” countries – the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Denmark – very reserved for this plan which will favor especially the countries in the south, the most affected by the pandemic.

Angela Merkel is very pleased that the European Commission “has taken up many aspects” of a Franco-German couple’s initiative on a € 500 billion plan of subsidies financed by a common European debt, a 180-degree trip from Berlin.

Of the EUR 750 billion proposed by the Commission, EUR 500 billion would indeed be reallocated in the form of grants, the EUR 250 billion remaining in the form of loans to Member States.

Speaking in the wake, the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, former Defense Minister for Angela Merkel, also insisted that this plan and the European budget be swiftly adopted. “We need an agreement now, in the coming weeks, to pave the way for all other issues that we want to address,” she said.

With AFP and Reuters