At the Special European Council being held in Brussels on Friday, the EU Heads of State and Government will look at the Commission’s proposal to inject 750 billion euro into an economic stimulus and investment programme to tackle the economic crisis. The leaders are also to agree on the EU’s financial framework for the coming seven years. In preparation of the meeting, the first EU General Affairs Council meeting took place under the chairmanship of Germany, which assumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 July.

Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth firmly believes that “the most important thing for all of us in the European Union is that we now reach an agreement.” He went on to say that it was time for the member states to go the extra mile, to demonstrate solidarity and focus on the common European good. “Time is running out,” he stated and added that it was only possible to take Europe forward if we showed solidarity in a serious crisis.

Presenting Germany’s priorities

In the initial open part of the meeting, Roth presented Germany’s priorities for its Presidency of the Council of the EU. The main focus will be on Europe’s economic and social recovery in the wake of the crisis triggered by the COVID‑19 pandemic. Furthermore, Germany wants to ensure that the EU is even better equipped to deal with strategic issues such as climate change mitigation and the digital transformation. In particular, future relations with the UK will play a major role at the General Affairs Council in the coming months. The intensive ongoing negotiations between Brussels and London are due to be concluded by the end of the year. Germany would also like to place greater emphasis on the rule of law. This issue is to be addressed in two different discussion formats in the Council. Finally, the Conference on the Future of Europe is to be launched. Members of the public will participate to discuss the future of European democracy.