German Chancellor Angela Merkel has laid out the priorities of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU to the European Committee of the Regions. In view of the many challenges, first and foremost the COVID-19 pandemic, she called for close European cooperation.
Germany holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU under exceptional circumstances, declared Chancellor Merkel on Tuesday. The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging Europe at all levels - in the member states, in the regions and in the municipalities. She said she was observing the rising numbers of new cases in almost all parts of Europe with great concern. “We must not forfeit what we have achieved thanks to restrictions in recent months,” warned the Chancellor in her speech to the meeting of the European Committee of the Regions. Another lockdown must be avoided, she said.
The Chancellor thanked the members of the Committee for shouldering responsibility during the pandemic in the municipalities and regions. They, more than anyone, are aware of the challenges at local level - in hospitals, care homes, schools and nurseries, in companies and in public places. “Without you, we can have only a limited impact as heads of state and government - and we can have just as limited an impact without the citizens of Europe.” Crisis management is a herculean task, said the Chancellor, that will be managed all the better if the people of Europe pull together.
The Chancellor was invited by the President of the Committee of the Regions to attend the 140th meeting of the Committee. The debate focused on the priorities of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU. The hybrid meeting was held in Brussels, and the Chancellor took part in the form of a video conference.