In a speech in the German Parliament on June 18, 2020, German Chancellor Angela Merkel outlined her vision for Germany’s Presidency of the EU Council, which Germany will hold for six months beginning on July 1.
The presidency will focus primarily on recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and making the EU more resilient against future crises. In order to achieve these goals, Merkel said, change and progress must be accelerated within the EU. Solidarity, Merkel emphasized, is the only way for the EU and the globe at large to recover from the pandemic. This belief will serve as the guiding principle for the German Council Presidency.
In addition to efforts against COVID-19, Merkel mentioned three other priority areas:
- Climate protection and the transition to a climate-neutral economy;
- Digitalization of the economy and society; and
- Greater global responsibility for Europe.
With a view to foreign policy, Merkel said her agenda would focus on joint management of the pandemic and on shaping relations with the African continent in a spirit of partnership. The world needs "Europe's strong voice for the protection of human dignity, democracy, and freedom," she said. Merkel also highlighted the Conference on the Future of Europe, which is now set for September 2020, as a potential forum in which to discuss reform proposals, for example, in foreign and security policy.
Merkel will also work towards ensuring that the European Council reaches an agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Reconstruction Fund as soon as possible.