On the start of Germany’s EU Council Presidency, Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas said today (July 1):
’Together for Europe’s recovery.’ That is our goal when Germany takes over the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 July.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit some countries in the European Union harder than others. But the economic and social impact is affecting the whole of Europe. We will therefore only succeed in making our way out of the crisis by pulling together.
That requires considerable effort and difficult decisions from all of us. In its capacity as Presidency of the Council of the EU, Germany wants to be a driving force and facilitator. Our task will be to build bridges and find solutions that ultimately benefit everyone in Europe.
Yet I believe that the crisis has also clearly revealed Europe’s strengths. Solidarity, willingness to compromise, social security. No other region in the world has demonstrated as much solidarity as we have in the EU. And to date nobody has better navigated its own citizens through the crisis. Solidarity is the hallmark of Europe, and we want to build on this strength.
The unity and solidarity we in Europe show internally need to be matched by our capability to act and our independence abroad. We do not want to be dictated to, we want to pursue our own paths and shape its geopolitical course.
If we want to make a global difference as a community of shared values, it is therefore vital that we better equip ourselves with regard to the issues that are strategically important for the future: climate change, displacement and migration, the rule of law and digital transformation.
We want to embrace this task during our Council Presidency, and that will require great commitment from us. I am a European through and through, and as Foreign Minister I am looking forward to these next very special six months. Only by working together can we help promote Europe’s recovery.