“Today, Germany takes over the six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union at a difficult time. Obviously, our Presidency will be shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic and by efforts to contain the pandemic and deal with its consequences,” said Chancellor Angela Merkel. She used question time in the German Bundestag to say a few words at the start of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Angela Merkel described Germany’s efforts to reach an agreement in the European Council on the unprecedented plan to support economic and social recovery in Europe. “We – and I personally – will stand by the President of the European Council [Charles Michel] during the rotating Presidency. I will be supporting his endeavours to achieve swift agreement to make a speedy and sustainable economy recovery possible.”

Launch in the German Bundestag

In front of members of the German Bundestag, the Chancellor declared, “Your expectations of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union are high. On behalf of the entire German government I can tell you that we are determined to do everything we can to ensure that we Europeans move forward together.” She asked parliamentarians to advance the goals of Germany’s Presidency in their contacts with the national parliaments of the other member states. The massive challenges facing us can only be addressed together, she said. “Let us fill the motto of the Presidency with life – Together for Europe’s recovery.”

Some of the following questions put to the Chancellor by the members of the German Bundestag touched on the other priorities of the Presidency, including climate action, digital sovereignty and Europe’s role in the world.