Some of these challenges, which are the focus of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union, have become even more urgent due to the COVID-19 crisis. As regards economic policy, the focus is on

  • a stronger orientation of the economy towards clean growth by means of innovation and climate-friendly technologies (‘clean economy’);
  • the creation of an environment that is as favourable as possible for companies – especially for small and medium-sized enterprises – for example by cutting red tape and strengthening the European internal market;
  • open markets and a rules-based trade policy;
  • strengthening digital and technological sovereignty, and
  • a modern cohesion policy that fosters an innovative and smart economic transformation.

Federal Minister Altmaier said:

We are facing enormous challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We must do everything we can during Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU to get the European economy going again. In its proposals for a recovery plan and its updated working programme, the European Commission has set the right priorities. It is now important to implement them swiftly and resolutely in close cooperation with the other EU Member States and the European Parliament. The EU must develop further to remain a globally competitive economic area, in order to be able to keep its promise of prosperity for future generations.

During his first visit to Brussels since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Federal Minister Altmaier met with Vice-President of the Commission Maroš Šefčovič, Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton and Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan.