Germany to assume EU presidency

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula Von de Leyen will today hold a press conference to mark

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Photo: Hayoung Jeon/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula Von de Leyen will today hold a press conference to mark Germany’s assumption of the EU’s rotating presidency on July 1.

Berlin’s presidency faces a warm welcome following Merkel’s impressive handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and her willingness to pursue an $843 billion recovery fund despite Germany’s tradition of state frugality. Given the tumultuous state of the EU—rattled by COVID-19, trade relations with China and growing US estrangement—strong leadership will be imperative. The presidency will also inherit stalled Brexit negotiations and inconclusive budget plans for 2021 to 2027.

With Merkel expected to leave office next year, the presidency is paramount to the solidification of her legacy. Expect the chancellor to prioritise greater solidarity within the bloc, given her marriage of interests with France and her contrived assembly of key German leadership. As the US prepares to withdraw troops from Germany, Merkel’s message will likely focus on the need for competent global leadership and increased multilateralism.

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