Global News World

Merkel receives Macron at dawn of high-risk German EU presidency

Berlin (hooly News) – Angela Merkel receives Emmanuel Macron on Monday at the dawn of a German presidency of the European Union confronted, with the coronavirus, with an unprecedented crisis which the chancellor intends to seize before leaving office.

The French president will have to recover after the failure of his party on Sunday in municipal elections marked by a push from environmentalists.

Before going to Berlin, Emmanuel Macron receives the 150 members of the Citizen's Climate Convention (CCC) on Monday at the Elysee Palace, the day after this green surge.

It intends to provide "strong responses" and "up to the ecological challenges and expectations" of the French.

From the "Green Deal" of the European Commission to Brexit, via the migration issue or relations with China and the United States, the sites will not fail, from July 1, for the Chancellor.

She had not held the rotating EU presidency since 2007.

But it is the Covid-19 epidemic and the resulting economic crisis that will be the priority for the next six months.

"The coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down, as have the plans of the German presidency," summed up the chancellor in late May.

– "Swan song" –

"The first reflexes, including ours, were rather national and not always European," admitted Merkel, who now intends to ward off "the danger that a deep gap will continue to widen in Europe".

It is now banking on "solidarity and mutual aid" between the 27.

A 180 degree turn on the part of the German leader, questioned for her intransigence towards a Greece close to bankruptcy in 2011.

The chancellor, criticized so far for her attachment to budgetary orthodoxy and her extreme caution on the European scene, could thus "use this presidency to shape a legacy", according to a European diplomat, evoking the "swan song" of the chancellor.

Ms. Merkel, in power for 15 years, has indeed planned to leave the chancellery in late 2021.

Often accused of lack of political courage, she has just broken a German taboo in terms of financial solidarity by proposing with Mr. Macron a European recovery plan of 500 billion euros.

Above all, the two leaders, who meet at the beginning of the evening at Meseberg Castle, north of Berlin, proposed that it be financed by mutualized European debts used to finance grants to the countries most affected by the virus.

This Franco-German initiative paved the way for the European Commission's 750 billion euro plan, which, however, still promises tough negotiations in Europe.

"We are optimistic, determined and determined to obtain a budgetary agreement in July," wants to believe the French presidency.

The chancellor, however, said on Friday to several European newspapers, including, to have "no illusions about the difficulty of the negotiations to come".

The stakes are high, the success of this rotating presidency, and even the future of the European Union, being played out in the coming weeks.

Not adopting the stimulus package "would worsen all the problems" by fueling populism, the Chancellor warned in this interview.

"Very high unemployment in a country can develop explosive political power there. The threats to democracy would then be greater," she warns.

If the EU overcomes the reluctance of the so-called "frugal" countries opposed in the state to the recovery plan – the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden – the German presidency will be partly successful.

– Devastating "No deal" –

But another big piece awaits the EU, with deadlocked post-Brexit negotiations.

Leaving the EU on January 31, the United Kingdom is now negotiating with Brussels in an attempt to establish an advantageous commercial relationship with the European bloc at the end of the transition period ending at the end of the year.

The discussions did not allow any real progress as the deadline is fast approaching, and with it the risk of a devastating "no deal" for the economy.

Merkel does not hide either that she intends to see Europe assuming "more responsibilities" on a world scale vis-a-vis the Chinese and American "blocks".

Merkel wants to conclude an "investment agreement" with Beijing. But an EU-China summit in September in Leipzig had to be canceled because of the epidemic and also for lack of prospect of agreement.