Germany will take over from Croatia on 1 July as the six-monthly President of the Council of the European Union. With this, Chancellor Angela Merkel will have to deal with a number of major EU issues.
During the German Presidency, the main themes would initially be the Green Deal, Brexit, the European multi-annual budget and the migration issue. But the corona pandemic requires so much attention that ambitions had to be adjusted, including the financing of the corona mega recovery fund. The priority now lies in coordinating the relaxation of the measures and in coping with the economic consequences of the pandemic.
In the coming six months it will be up to Germany to bring all European member states into line. It has often been shown that the European Union is far from united. But the corona crisis may well become a crowbar. Because of the financial necessity, it is now suddenly open to discussion that the EU incurs joint debts (although that should not be called that way), that the EU may introduce taxes (although that should be called differently), and that a Future Conference should be considered. about new tasks and powers (although hardly anyone dares to say that out loud yet). Merkel announced that she wants to learn from the corona crisis and to come to a joint approach.
Both the Brexit negotiations and the multiannual financial framework are due to be completed in the six months of Germany's presidency. The year 2020 is the transition year for Brexit, in which all agreements must be made about trade agreements, among other things. Despite the circumstances, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson does not seem to want to know anything about an extension of the negotiation period.
The German Presidency should have been a highlight of the EU China Summit in Leipzig. Initially, it was expected that the meeting would continue as a video conference in September. But the summit is being shifted, it became known recently. When is not yet clear. It is of great importance to Merkel that Europe has a uniform attitude towards China.
The world also needs "Europe's strong voice to protect human dignity, democracy and freedom," Merkel said when presenting her EU plans. The Conference on the Future of Europe could be an appropriate format for discussing reform proposals, for example in the field of foreign and security policy.