“It’s every day,” von der Leyen said. She emphasized the need to act quickly as Europe faced a time constraint, with unemployment rising sharply along with the number of bankruptcies and insolvent businesses.
The head of the commission also said that the prudent hand he sees in the German presidency is necessary to solve these problems. Merkel said that the entire German government is ready and motivated for the task. She added that the Union now faces the greatest challenge in its history. She warned that the coronavirus had not disappeared.
Merkel, who headed the Federal Republic during her last EU presidency in 2007, said on Wednesday that she considered strengthening Europe’s role on the international stage and progress in climate protection, digitization and the Union’s technological self-sufficiency as further priorities for the German leadership. Von der Leyen agreed.
“We all know that the issues we faced before the crisis will remain the same after the crisis,” said von der Leyen, who mentioned, among other things, climate change, digitalisation and Europe’s position in the world.
European leaders will discuss the rescue package and the EU budget
Merkel also called on EU leaders to agree on a fund for economic recovery. From 17 to 18 July, for the first time in five months, the Heads of State and Government will meet in person in Brussels to discuss the EU’s seven-year budget, as well as the fund.
The European Commission (EC) wants to provide economies with 750 billion euros (over 20 trillion crowns) for economies to recover from the coronavirus crisis above the level of the current EU budget. This amount, which the EC wants to borrow unprecedentedly on the financial markets and at the same time use the highest credit rating of the EU, is to increase the budget for the period 2021 to 2027.
“We know where the problems are, but we also know that it would be good to agree in July. If we need more time, it would be a less good option, “Merkel said at the upcoming summit. “We have to reach an agreement in the summer, I can’t imagine another option, so we will work very hard,” she added.
Reuters noted that although the country holding the presidency has limited powers, the six-month leadership of the EU under the baton of the German chancellor is associated with great expectations.