For Germany, which will hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU until December 31st, the last six months have not been easy at all. Angela Merkel has had to put aside issues such as the migration pact or the fight against climate change to face a fierce economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The most important objective of the German presidency was to reach an agreement on the recovery fund and the multi-annual budget. And with the latest agreement in the European Council we can say that this important objective has been achieved. Everything else has taken a back seat. due to the pandemic, “says Nicolai von Ondarza, from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
Merkel and her partners in the Council, in particular French President Emmanuel Macron, pushed for unprecedented measures: the EU would ask for a collective loan to help the worst affected countries and ensure a strong recovery. In total, 1.8 trillion euros will be mobilized in the next seven years. By accepting the common debt, Germany has jettisoned its decades-long fiscal orthodoxy.
“The German presidency has shown great solidarity in the coronavirus crisis. The German-French proposal was received with enormous relief and gratitude by some member states, and by many deputies. Because they react differently than Germany did in the financial crisis, it was extremely important for Europe as a whole, “says Katharina Barley, vice-president of the European Parliament.
The fight against the pandemic has been joined by disagreements with Poland and Hungary, countries reluctant until a few weeks ago for the EU to link community funds to respect for the rule of law. Merkel changed their minds but not all MEPs applaud her diplomatic tactics.
“Merkel allowed Parliament and the Commission to take charge of politics while the German government has continued to do business with Hungary and Poland. This game will not work for long, because if the states do not fulfill their obligations and demand respect for the democracy, the EU institutions, Parliament and the Council alone cannot do much “, The Greens MEP, Reinhard Bütikofer.
As of January 1, Portugal will take over from Germany as the Presidency of the Union. His mission: to guide the 27 in the much needed recovery.