Germany takes over the rotating six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July. This responsibility comes at a time when the EU is facing unprecedented challenges and expectations of Germany’s leadership and diplomatic skills are higher than ever.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ministers will have the difficult task of leading the member states’ negotiations on the European response to the coronavirus crisis.
But not only that: from the European Commission’s Green Deal to Brexit, from the migration issue to relations with China and the US, there is no shortage of work for Chancellor Merkel, who last held the rotating EU presidency in 2007.
However, the most difficult task for Berlin will be to reach an agreement on the multi-annual financial framework (MFF), the EU’s seven-year budget.
Germany will have to reach a consensus with those member states that do not wish to pay out taxpayers’ money to the EU countries most affected (the so-called ‘Frugal Four’ – Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden) and insist on controls and the highest possible reimbursement rate.