Even before the COVID-19 outbreak hit Europe earlier this year, the European Union had faced a slew of challenges ranging from Brexit and climate change to migration.
Germany’s six-month-long presidency of the EU Council, which began July 1, comes at a critical time as the EU seeks to cushion the economic and social fallout of the prolonged pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink the presidency,” German Ambassador to South Korea Stephen Auer said during a reception held Wednesday at his residence in Seoul to celebrate the German presidency of the EU Council.
With the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis at the heart of the German program for the presidency, Germany seeks to play a role in bringing the EU member states closer so that they stand “together for Europe’s recovery.”
In the wake of the pandemic, EU member states were seen responding individually rather than in unity in terms of making decisions to close borders and take emergency economic measures, putting the interests of their people first.
“No region in the world is as strong and has as much solidarity as we have in the European Union. During our presidency, we will do everything we can to further strengthen the spirit,” he said, adding that they are stronger and taken more seriously when they stand united.
During its presidency, Germany will coordinate the EU’s efforts to overcome the pandemic in social, economic and political aspects to make Europe fairer, stronger and more sustainable, it said.
Other pressing tasks include concluding its negotiations on the future relationship with the United Kingdom, which left the EU Jan. 31, as well as making progress on climate protection and digital transformation, and strengthening its role at a global level, it added.
By Ock Hyun-ju (firstname.lastname@example.org