The EU: “Germany has delivered”

30.12.2020 - Interview

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in an interview with the German Press Agency dpa reviewing Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2020:

Question: Six months ago, there were high expectations of Germany’s Council Presidency, not least in the light of the COVID-19 crisis. Would you say that Germany has lived up to those expectations?

Heiko Maas: We clarified all the financial issues in what was a very, very difficult process. We got the Brexit deal over the line at the very last minute. And at the last Foreign Ministers meeting, we put the issue of European sovereignty – the French call it “strategic autonomy” – on the agenda. I think we have delivered what was expected of us in our Presidency.

Question: But there are other issues where no progress has been made – migration, for example.

Maas: It’s true: that is and remains a gap in the European Union. However, as the Commission did not present its proposal on migration till the end of September, it was basically clear that we wouldn’t be able to get an outcome. This issue remains one of the major seeds of discord in the European Union. The upcoming Portuguese Presidency will have to take this up. I would have liked to have made progress, but owing to the obstructionism of individual countries, it just wasn’t possible.

Interview conducted by Michael Fischer


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