Europe Faces Difficult Issues as Germany Becomes EU President
Europe faces big economic, trade and public health issues as Germany takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The EU's most powerful member became president of the Council on July 1. It will head the 27-member political and economic bloc for the next six months.
As the EU's president, German officials will be dealing with the COVID-19 health crisis and the economic damage it has caused in Europe. Other issues include the effects of Britain's withdrawal from the EU, the bloc's trade with China and tensions with the United States.
Germany's return to the presidency comes as its leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, is expected to leave office next year. With her country taking control of the EU presidency, she will need to persuade European leaders to compromise.
One of the first issues facing the bloc is settling differences on an $843 billion spending plan aimed at speeding up Europe's economic recovery. EU members also need to reach agreement on a multi-year budget, which is expected to cost more than $1 trillion.
On Monday, Merkel said she hoped the 27-member bloc would agree to a deal on the budget and additional spending later this month. She spoke at talks with French President Emmanuel Macron when they met in Germany.
The German presidency comes as Merkel is riding a crest of popularity. Part of the reason is what some people see as her success dealing with the pandemic.
Another reason might be her decision to work with France to push for a large coronavirus recovery spending measure. The goal is to help European countries, which have struggled economically because of restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus. Usually, Germany is considered one of the EU's more frugal members and opposes new spending.
In addition, the EU and Britain have intensified negotiations aiming to define their relationship after Britain's withdrawal from the bloc. Among the issues are rules governing trade between the two sides. The British government is hoping to reach an agreement soon.
John Springford is deputy director of the Centre for European Reform, a research group in London. Springford said he believes that the interests of Germany and France are closely linked and have helped Europe.
"...There's a realization that she wants to have been a chancellor that has made Europe stronger," he noted.
Sebastien Maillard is head of the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris. He believes that Merkel is thinking about her legacy and is taking steps to make this EU presidency more meaningful.
‘It's really a time for her to make history, so this presidency surely will make a difference compared to previous ones," he said.
But making a difference will not to be easy. The Reuters news agency reports that Germany wants fairer trade relations with China. European companies say China does not give them the same ability to sell products in its markets as Chinese businesses have in Europe.
Tensions between the EU and the United States have grown during the presidency of Donald Trump. The U.S. military plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany.
Maillard noted, however, that Germany and the U.S. continue to have a close relationship.
"...We share many common values, and there is much for both economies to share together," he said. He added that the U.S. should treat the EU as a whole and not as a divided group.
But observers like Daniel Gros wonder how much Germany can do as a European Council president. Gros directs the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels.
"The presidency of a big country cannot achieve a lot. Because if it tries to push its own priorities, the other countries will react..." he said.
I'm Mario Ritter, Jr.
Political observers believe that a new cabinet may be formed shortly.
He stated that all foreign forces would withdraw as soon as the crisis ended
They submitted their reports to the Chancellor yesterday
He was already preparing his run for the presidency.
5.Maillard noted, however, that Germany and the U.S. continue to have a close relationship.
have a close relationship 关系密切
Conversation like that only happens between people who have a close relationship.
We have a close relationship with the U.S.A.
6.Germany's return to the presidency comes as its leader, Chancellor Angela Merkel, is expected to leave office next year.
leave office 离任
I think before you leave office you will see a change of guards here in the Middle East.
What he did not say was that he would immediately leave office.
这个欧盟最强大的成员国于7月1日成为了欧盟理事会主席 。它将在接下来的6个月里领导这个由27个成员组成的政治和经济集团 。
作为欧盟主席，德国官员将应对新冠肺炎卫生危机及其在欧洲造成的经济损失 。其它问题还包括英国脱欧影响、中欧贸易以及欧美紧张关系 。
德国重新担任主席正值其总理默克尔预计将于明年卸任之际 。随着德国担任欧盟轮值主席，默克尔将需要说服欧洲领导人达成妥协 。
这个政治集团面临的首要问题之一是解决对一项旨在加速欧洲经济复苏的8430亿美元支出方案的分歧 。欧盟成员国还需要就一项多年预算达成协议，该预算预计将会耗费超过1万亿美元 。
默克尔周一表示，她希望这个由27个成员国组成的政治集团在本月晚些时候能够就预算和额外支出达成一致 。她与法国总统马克龙在德国会晤时发表了这番言论 。
德国担任轮值主席正值默克尔的声望高峰 。部分是有人将其视为德国成功应对大流行的原因所在 。
另一个原因可能是她决定与法国合作推动一项大规模新冠病毒危机下复苏的支出措施 。其目标是帮助因为限制新冠病毒传播措施而经济窘迫的欧洲国家 。德国通常被认为是欧盟更为节俭的国家之一，该国反对新的支出 。
此外，欧盟和英国加强了旨在确定英国脱欧后双方关系的谈判 。这些问题包括控制双方贸易的规则 。英国政府希望尽快达成协议 。
约翰·斯普林福德是欧洲改革中心的副主任，这是一家总部位于伦顿的研究组织 。斯普林福德表示，他认为德国和法国的利益联系紧密，这对欧洲有好处 。
塞巴斯蒂安·梅拉德是巴黎雅克·德洛斯学院的院长 。他认为默克尔正在考虑自己的政治遗产，并且正在采取措施使欧洲轮值主席国更具意义 。
但是要有所作为并非易事 。路透社报道称，德国希望与中国建立更公平的贸易关系 。欧洲公司表示，中国并未赋予他们在该国市场跟中国企业在欧洲市场销售产品相同的能力 。
在特朗普担任美国总统期间，欧洲和美国之间的紧张关系日益加剧 。美国军方计划从德国撤走数千名士兵 。
他说：“我们有许多共同的价值观，两个经济体有许多可以共同分担的东西 。”他还表示，美国应该将欧盟视为一个整体，而不是一个分裂的政治集团 。
但是像丹尼尔·格罗斯之类的观察人士想要知道德国作为欧洲理事会主席能做些什么 。格罗斯领导着布鲁塞尔的欧洲政策研究中心 。
他说：“大国担任轮值主席国无法取得很大成就 。因为如果它试图推动自身的优先事项，其它国家将会做出反应 。”