Germany Wednesday begins the semi-annual presidency in the Council of the European Union. By chance, during an ongoing pandemic coronavirus and severe economic crisis in EU history to the first position opens Europe’s largest economy.
Germany is considered a "motor" integration and economic development of the European Union. The country’s share in GDP of the Union is almost a quarter, the economic problems of the EU, as shown by the global financial and subsequent Eurozone debt crisis, can only be solved taking into account the views of Berlin. In the current crisis, Germany has already demonstrated its leadership in the Union, effectively coped with the first wave of the pandemic, taking a massive package of economic aid to businesses and households, and together with Paris initiated a debate on the economic recovery program of the European Union, which is closely intertwined with the priorities of the chairmanship in the Union.
the to Make Europe strong again, together
The last time Germany held the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2007, when crucial for the European Union the global financial crisis was just beginning to manifest itself. This will be the thirteenth the German presidency in the EU.
The chairmanship of a member country of the EU Union includes two areas of work – representatives of the country preside over the sittings of the Council of Ministers and a preparatory work, the subsidiary bodies (with the exception of the Council on foreign Affairs, which is headed by high representative for foreign and security policy), and also represent the EU Council in relations with other institutions of the European Union, which coordinated the legislative process in the Union (European Commission and European Parliament). The mission is carried out in close coordination with the President of the European Union (Charles Michel) and head of diplomacy (Josep Borrell).
The motto of its presidency, Germany has chosen the phrase "Together. Make Europe strong again," which is reminiscent of the campaign slogan of US President Donald trump in the campaign for the 2015-2016 Make America great again ("let us Make America great again"). However, Berlin decided to put in the first place the word "Gemeinsam (together, together, a collective effort with it.)", separating it from the second phrase and thus making an emphasis on teamwork. This emphasis can also be seen in other symbolic frame the presidency as the logo chosen möbius strip, a topological object from a geometry, open the German mathematicians August Ferdinand möbius and Johann Benedict Listing in 1858. A large part of the tape painted blue, echoing the blue flag of Europe, but part of the tape is painted in the colors of the flag of Germany.
"as a logo chairsand the Mobius strip. This geometrical figure has a special trait: she only has one side, even if at first glance it does not look right. Thus, the Mobius strip symbolizes that Europe creates unity and cohesion even in differing interests and great diversity. Because when someone starts moving on a möbius strip, from different angles and in different directions, they still meet on the same side. It is also a force in Europe," explained the government’s choice of logo.
The key priorities of the German presidency are divided into six items: the European response to the pandemic coronavirus, strong and innovative Europe, just Europe sustainable Europe, a Europe of security and of common values, capable European Union for partnerships and rule-based international order.
The order of these paragraphs shows that the focus of Germany the fight against the pandemic in Europe.
"In the face of a pandemic COVID-19 the European Union is facing a fateful challenge. In the German EU presidency we will abandon all efforts to cope with this problem together with the future oriented approach and to make Europe strong again. Like never before this is the case, it is necessary to set clear priorities and to join forces. Germany is aware of its responsibility to the European Union", - stated in the first sentence of the Norwegian presidency of Germany.
In this regard, stresses that high priority is the speedy conclusion of negotiations on long-term financial framework (budget) of the European Union on 2021-2027 year. The EU budget, according to the plan Germany must reflect current challenges in the beginning of the pandemic economic crisis, and the early strategic goal of the EU in the "changing world". This task is part of the goal to give an answer to the challenge of the pandemic. Other lists coordination, social support and business support, learning from the first wave of the pandemic with a focus on the development of crisis-response mechanisms, ensuring the functioning of the internal market and its open nature.
Further notes the need for the EU to work on "digital sovereignty" - to develop their own technologies, including in the field of artificial intelligence, quantum technology, best processing and data collection within the EU, improving the competitiveness of the Union economy, strengthening the financial structure. The social unit focuses on the initiative of the European Commission on the development of "more fair" framework for minimum wage in the Union, advanced training with an eye on the "greening" of the economy and ciprovit��tion, gender equality in the labour market, youth involvement in economic activity.
The key points of the sustainable development of Europe stated "an ambitious policy of climate protection and the environment". In particular, Germany expects that the initiative of the European Commission's climate law will be adopted during its presidency. The law will make mandatory the aim of climate neutral Europe by 2050 - this means that the harmful emissions will be "neutralized" technological, administrative, market, and other measures.
Germany expects during its presidency to focus on issues of shared values and security, pointing out that the continent United by the common aim of protecting human rights and individual freedoms, the rule of law. In particular, the programme stresses the need to "strongly" to apply provided by the treaties of the EU response mechanisms, when the member observed, "deficit of rule of law". It is proposed to strengthen cross-border cooperation of police and other law enforcement agencies combat terrorism, cybercrime. The necessity of reforming the system of asylum in Europe.
Finally, speaking about the role of the EU in the world, the German government underlines its conviction that "only together we Europeans can effectively confront international challenges, to implement in cooperation our interests and defend our values". Noted the need for better mechanisms for responding to external threats, for example pandemic, separately mentions the relations with the countries of the Western Balkans and Africa. Germany intends to form a comprehensive and active cooperation with the United States with the political dialogue and "positive agenda in the transatlantic trade," but the United States itself in the document called "closest partner in foreign and security policy outside the EU".
Relations with China Germany proposes to develop on the basis of the principle of "reciprocity" in all political spheres, Berlin recalls are coming in this year, the summit EU-China. The countries of the Western Balkans, says Berlin, it is necessary to give "convincing" the prospect of joining the EU, Germany will actively "accompany" negotiations with Serbia, Montenegro, to prepare a framework for accession negotiations with the EU, Albania and Northern Macedonia.
Relations with Russia devoted a single paragraph. "Germany supports the high representative (for foreign Affairs and security policy), which supports the active building of relations EU-Russia on the basis of the five principles and assess their implementation", - stated in the Docpaper.
The five principles of the EU's policy towards Russia was adopted in the spring of 2018. They will include full implementation of the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine, the strengthening of the Eastern partnership, cooperation with several countries of the former USSR, including Ukraine, Georgia, the stability of the European Union, including energy security, cooperation with Russia on specific topics, support civil society in Russia. Ukraine is mentioned once in the section on crisis response and resolution.
a Happy accident
The expert at the Free University of Berlin, expert on EU environmental policy Klaus Jacob believes that despite the ambitious programme of the German chairmanship, a top priority will be the fight against the pandemic coronavirus and its consequences, while climate policies will be.
"In the priorities of EU presidency Germany will focus on overcoming of consequences of crisis of coronavirus. It will definitely be the focus and main point. However, it will be docked with the "green" topics, the European Commission launched its initiative program "Green deal" before the start of the pandemic. Therefore, this draft remains on the table and can be used for the stimulus package and to help shape it in accordance with environmental principles", - said the expert RIA Novosti.
The expert expects that climate policy will again become part of the agenda. "the fact that the President (of France Emmanuel) Rules and the Chancellor (of Germany Angela) Merkel (29 June in Germany) played a Central question of the marginal tax rate for carbon dioxide indicates that this issue (of climate policy) will be tied to the economic recovery program," he continued.
According to Jacob, the fact that Germany assumes presidency during a pandemic is essential. "the EU Presidency requires a lot of resources. The fact that Germany is now in this role, can contribute to the fact that it will be able to take on a mediating role in Europe than if she had not had that status (the Chairman). Because when the country is a regular member, then it is inclined to represent their interests, and the presidency and the definition of success plays a role that the country is going towards the General proposals of collective action. It's a happy coincidence that Germany would not oppose another President, and to promote solidarity", the expert added.