Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (24 June) following the Cabinet decision concerning the national programme for Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union:

We adopted the Work Programme for our Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the Federal Cabinet today.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has hit some countries in the European Union harder than others, its economic and social repercussions are 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.

Germany wants to be a driving force and facilitator during its Presidency of the Council of the EU. Our task will be to build bridges and find solutions that ultimately benefit everyone in Europe.

The crisis has also clearly revealed Europe’s strengths, however, including solidarity, the willingness to compromise and social security. No other region in the world has demonstrated as much solidarity among themselves 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 ability to act and our sovereignty abroad. We do not want to be dictated to, but we want to pursue our own path and shape our geopolitical course.

If we want to make a difference globally 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 the digital transformation. This is how Europe can emerge stronger from this crisis.