Connect with us

Foreign

Germany takes over EU presidency in “difficult time” marked by pandemic

Published

on

Germany takes over EU presidency in “difficult time” marked by pandemic

Germany took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) from Croatia for the next six months in a “difficult time” determined by COVID-19, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a speech to the Bundestag (parliament) in Berlin on Wednesday.


“Of course, our presidency will be marked by the coronavirus pandemic, the efforts to contain it and to deal with its consequences,” said Merkel, stressing that the European Council had agreed that “special solutions are needed.”

The COVID-19 pandemic “affects us all,” said Merkel when presenting the program for Germany’s EU presidency in June.

Merkel warned that the positions of the member states of the EU were still “widely divergent.” Besides the COVID-19 crisis, the EU Council is looking at a number of serious challenges including Brexit, immigration as well as climate protection.

In her speech, Merkel stressed that there were other issues besides the coronavirus crisis. “Over the next six months, we not only want to press ahead with crisis management, but also work intensively on how we can shape the key issues of climate protection, digital sovereignty and Europe’s role in the world in the future.”

Already in May, the European Commission has proposed a 750-billion-euro (844 billion United States dollars) aid package for Europe’s economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis. In this “decisive moment,” investments must be made “in a way that will benefit the next generation tomorrow,” said President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.

Merkel said that economic aid had to secure young people’s opportunities and promised to campaign for every young person to have the opportunity to find work. “It is particularly important to me that the economic recovery benefits everyone and that we not only secure employment and business, but also and especially strengthen social cohesion in Europe.”

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) warned on Wednesday that demands by many member states were so high that Germany could “hardly do them justice.” The next six months could become a “negotiation and voting nightmare in the face of unrealistic expectations,” said BDI President Dieter Kempf.

With regard to the future relationships between the EU and the United Kingdom (UK), Merkel noted that progress in the negotiations was “very limited, to put it mildly.”

A recent survey conducted jointly by BDI and Deloitte showed that almost one in three German companies expected the UK to leave the EU without a negotiated deal.

“We have agreed with Great Britain to speed up the negotiations now in order to reach an agreement in autumn,” Merkel said. She stressed to “continue to fight for a good solution” but advised to take precautions in the EU and also in Germany in case an agreement was not reached.

With the Brexit deadline getting closer and the international cry for financial aid getting louder as Europe’s economies struggle with the effects of COVID-19, Merkel emphasized that “only with the support of the national parliaments of all member states will we be able to meet this major challenges.”

(XINHUA)

Nnn: :is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Barca’s Pique calls for wholesale changes after “shameful” defeat INEC seeks stakeholders collaboration in instituting electoral transparency Bayern Munich must stay grounded in spite of Barca demolition, coach says FC Barcelona’s Umtiti tests positive for COVID-19 Bauchi Gov. condoles family of murdered lawmaker, Mante Football united behind Infantino, FIFA general secretary says Council approves health care provision fund guideline Labour ministry denies complicity in human trafficking UN ‘strongly condemns’ rights abuses in Cameroon Tourism operators reveal Top 10 romantic destinations for honeymoon in Nigeria DG NTA lauds Lalong for peace efforts in Plateau Post COVID-19: Ministry holds public enlightenment on legal metrology Expert call for adequate funding to promote research on stem cell transplant JSS 3 students resume Aug. 16/17 – KDSG FG inaugurates committee of professionals to oversee intergovernmental affairs Mafa: Borno Govt resettles 2,800 displaced families 6-years after insurgents’ attack NAIC, AFAN partner to insure 40m farmers against flood, other disasters Lagos Assembly proposes N20m licence fee for lottery, betting operators Lagos govt charges Lagosians to plant coconuts trees Edo unemployment rate declines to 19% under Obaseki’s job creation drive-official PDP reconstitutes Kaduna State caretaker committee Nasarawa Deputy Governor tasks journalists on investigative reportage Sales rep docked over alleged theft of employer’s goods worth N430,000 Shop owners, traders lament as Kuje Council demolishes structures LASG reverses 10% service charge for trips on e-hailing platforms Unilag ASUU says no going back in rejection of VC’s removal Court remands 2 men over alleged serial robberies with knife, rape KEDCO loses N260m to vandalism in 3 months NCDMB Tower: A boost to local content — P100 companies Osun-Osogbo Festival ends with low turnout due to COVID-19 FAAN trains NRC personnel on passenger screening Big Brother Naija becomes most-watched entertainment live stream on Showmax SEC donates ambulance, bottled water to Rivers Govt Gombe State Govt. releases N5m for procurement of anti-snake venom NiMet urges staff to shelve planned strike Greta Thunberg among climate activists to meet Merkel in Berlin WASSCE: Kwara Govt.warns principals against malpractice Edo Campaign: Electorate defy rain to receive Gov. Obaseki Mosque reopening: Adhere to COVID-19 protocols, NSCIA tasks Ekiti Muslims NSCDC dismisses report indicting personnel in Ebonyi market theft COVID-18: Ogun mosques resume physical services on a promising note Amazon launches online pharmacy in India Most Nigerian girls in Lebanon entered legally, Lebanese envoy Kwara poly Rector not suspended–Management Otti joins APC, promises to keep fighting to salvage Abia NSE: Turnover rises by 86.97%, other indices down 0.15% ICRC, FRSC to establish safe driving academies France pays tribute to aid workers killed in Niger Police arrest father for alleged incarceration of 30-year-old son Election: Stay to defend your vote, Obaseki tells electorate