Merkel's legacy at stake as Germany takes EU reins

01 Juillet, 2020, 08:27 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • AFP- Kay Nietfeld

"I'm very happy that we agree on the challenges that we want to overcome together", added Merkel, who noted that "expectations are high" - referring to Germany's European Union presidency starting from July 1 - but Berlin and Paris are ready to rise to the task, in a bid to invest more into the future to meet those challenges after the pandemic.

With the future of the bloc's relationship with Britain to be determined, a crucial shift to a lower carbon world in the balance and crises from Libya to Syria all jostling for attention, there is no shortage of burning issues to tackle.

"We hope we'll find a deal (in July), even if the road is still long", said Merkel.

"It is important to me that we come out of the debate with a strong instrument at the end", the German Chancellor further said.

She said there would be changes to the European Commission's proposal, "but it has to remain a fund that helps, that really also helps the countries that otherwise threaten to be much more affected by the crisis".

Once an obstinate champion of budgetary rigour, Merkel's government has ditched its no-new-debt dogma to throw resources at the crisis.

Together with Macron, Merkel last month proposed a massive recovery fund to jumpstart the bloc's economy.

The EU coronavirus recovery fund will offer grants with no obligation for repayment to states hit hardest by the outbreak.

With an eye on the devastating blow taken by the worst-hit countries like Spain or Italy, Merkel explained that it was "imperative that Germany not only thinks of itself but is prepared for an extraordinary act of solidarity".

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Merkel said on Monday that maybe more fiscally conservative or prudent countries could be convinced if beneficiary nations took action to improve their own economies.

He said the pandemic is not yet at its peak, and that steps needed to be taken at the European Union level to deal with challenges on the horizon.

Observers have said that they believe Berlin will ram through an accord.

An EU diplomat agreed, saying: "On the recovery fund, I expect Germany to dictate the whole process".

"She also wants to get Brexit out of the way and she will always go for the deal as she wants to keep the West together". Merkel's skilled handling of the health crisis along with the major strength of the German economy makes her an obvious choice to lead Europe's relaunch initiative.

Right now the European Union needs leadership and Angela Merkel, who has been in charge of the German powerhouse for the past 15 years, is not shying away from that role.

Germany's presidency of the Council of the European Union will possibly be the toughest faced by any member state to date.

What is clear is that Merkel's fingerprints will be all over the EU's roadmap through the next six months.

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