The meeting takes place every six months, before the beginning of the incoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Germany assumes the Presidency on 1 July 2020. State Secretary Miguel Berger and Secretary-General Helga-Maria Schmid co-chaired the meeting.
The informal meeting provided an opportunity to present the priorities of the German Presidency with the group. The focus was on overcoming the COVID-19 crisis together and dealing with its social and economic impact, as well as launching a “lessons learned” process. In keeping with the motto of the German Presidency, “Together for Europe's recovery”, Germany will do everything it can to strengthen the EU as a sovereign actor of solidarity both internally and externally, said State Secretary Miguel Berger.
Berger listed other important issues that the German Presidency wants to address: negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the EU’s future relations with the United Kingdom as well as climate protection, digitisation, strengthening social cohesion and the rule of law as well as the role of the EU in the world.
In order to achieve these goals, Berger went on to say, a clear setting of priorities and close cooperation between all parties was necessary. During its Presidency, Germany will work to find solutions and compromises so that the EU emerges from the crisis stronger.
In an open and honest discussion, the participants also discussed means and ways to strengthen European sovereignty in times of crisis. In addition, the State Secretaries and Secretaries-General were able to share their ministries’ experiences in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic during the video conference.