Germany Takes Over EU Presidency at Challenging Time

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PARIS – The European Union’s strongest member, Germany, takes over the bloc’s rotating presidency in July amid a raft of challenges — from COVID-19 and the financial devastation it has wrought, to Brexit, commerce with China and tensions with the United States.

Germany’s presidency comes as its chief, Angela Merkel — the European Union’s longest serving present head of state — is anticipated to depart workplace subsequent yr. Both she and the bloc have a protracted listing of challenges.   

On the EU’s quick agenda is overcoming variations to push by way of an 843 billion-dollar coronavirus restoration fund, geared toward boosting a so-called inexperienced financial reboot. Then there may be getting settlement on the EU’s subsequent multi-year price range, with a proposed price ticket of greater than a trillion {dollars}.  

FILE – A employee wears a protecting masks on the Volkswagen meeting line after VW re-started Europe’s largest automobile manufacturing facility after a coronavirus shutdown, in Wolfsburg, Germany, April 27, 2020.

Meeting Monday with France’s President Emmanuel Macron in Mesenberg, Germany, Merkel mentioned she hoped the 27-member bloc would strike a deal on each at a July summit.  

The Germany presidency comes as Merkel is driving a crest of recognition, partly over what some see as her profitable dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic. While Germany usually sides with extra frugal bloc members who’re reluctant to supply massive non-repayable grants, Merkel teamed up with Macron to push for a large coronavirus restoration package deal.    

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron give a joint press convention after a bilateral assembly at Meseberg Castle, in Meseberg, Germany, June 29, 2020.


The EU and Britain have additionally intensified negotiations aimed to outline their post-Brexit relationship, with London desperate to wrap issues up speedily.  

John Springford is deputy director of the Centre for European Reform analysis institute in London.  

“Now, I think, there’s a realization that she wants to have been a chancellor that has made Europe stronger, and so they’re kind of a happy marriage of interests going on between her and Macron,”   he mentioned.

Sebastien Maillard, head of the Jacques Delors Institute analysis group in Paris agrees Merkel is considering her legacy.  

‘It’s actually a time for her to make historical past. So this presidency certainly will make a distinction in comparison with earlier ones,” he mentioned.  

But making a distinction doesn’t promise to be straightforward. Reuters studies Germany needs extra reciprocity with China, following complaints by European corporations of an uneven enjoying subject in the case of market entry.  

FILE – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks to U.S. troopers primarily based in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Nov. 7, 2019.

Tensions between the EU and the United States have additionally grown underneath the Trump administration, which plans to withdraw hundreds of U.S. troops from Germany.  

“I think there is a strong desire to have some strong relationship because we know we share many common values, and there is much for both economies to share together, but to really be treated on even terms and for the US to consider the EU as a whole — not to try to divide us,” he mentioned.

But analysts like Daniel Gros are skeptical about simply how far Germany can go as European Council president. 

“The presidency of a big country cannot achieve a lot. Because if it tries to push its own priorities, the other countries will react allergically,” says Gros who directs the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels.   

What is obvious is there may be loads of work forward for Berlin and for Brussels within the months forward.  





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