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Online event
Germany’s priorities for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Thursday, 04 June 2020


Michael Clauss
Permanent Representative of Germany to the EU


Janis Emmanouilidis
Director of Studies, European Policy Centre

On 1 July 2020, Germany will assume the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). In the light of the COVID-19 crisis and with Europe facing the public health, economic, societal, and political consequences of the pandemic, the German Presidency had to revise its strategy. The Federal Government is therefore committing to the formulation of an exit strategy and the rebuilding of Europe’s economy, including in particular, the Franco-German initiative for  a €500 billion ‘Recovery Fund’ that would provide support to the most affected sectors and regions funded from the EU budget. However, the EU still has to reach a consensus on the revised Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Recovery Fund, which would allow the European Commission to borrow on the markets on behalf of the EU.

Despite the change of strategy, the German Presidency does not want to lose sight of other key priorities. Climate change mitigation and digital transformation remain priorities. Furthermore, the future relationship between the UK and the United Kingdom also needs to be settled. This remains a major challenge for the Presidency given the large number of unresolved issues. Last but not least, the German Council Presidency will have to operate under difficult practical conditions created by the pandemic, which have impeded physical meetings and have forced the EU system to move towards new forms of ‘virtual diplomacy’. This will further increase the significance of the German Presidency, as much will depend on its ability to steer discussions and act as an honest broker in forging joint positions.

At this briefing, Germany’s Permanent Representative to the EU Michael Clauss, will set out the priorities of the German Presidency in more detail and take part in a question and answer session, chaired by EPC Director of Studies, Janis A. Emmanouilidis.

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