Merkel calls for EU unity on recovery plan

Source: Xinhua Published: 2020/7/9 13:14:57

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and European Parliament President David Sassoli attend a press conference at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, July 8, 2020. Reaching swiftly an agreement on an ambitious European recovery package is the European Union's highest priority for the coming weeks, the bloc's leaders agreed at a meeting Wednesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Germany took over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU on July 1. (European Union/Handout via Xinhua)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday called on European Union (EU) member states to join together to approve the recovery package, in a bid to help Europe deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic-triggered economic crisis.

"The top priority of the German Presidency for Europe is to come out of the crisis united and strengthened," Merkel said in a speech to lawmakers of the European Parliament. It was her first trip abroad since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Germany took over the six-month EU Council presidency on July 1.

"In the next months, it is essential to try to contain the pandemic and to overcome the consequences. Those are health-related, social, and economic consequences," said Merkel, who introduced Germany's plan for its EU presidency to European lawmakers.

She called for solidarity and unity within the EU and sought to convene support for the multi-billion euro economic recovery package to tackle the coronavirus and its economic impact.

Facing an unprecedented economic downturn, Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron proposed a 500-billion-euro (566-billion-U.S. dollar) recovery package in May, in a bid to assist countries with their economic recovery. The European Commission later suggested a 750-billion-euro package, including 500 billion euros in grants and 250 billion euros in loans.

However, Denmark the Netherlands, Sweden, and Austria oppose the plan, critical of the money being given out in grants. The European Council will convene a special summit later this month to try to reach an agreement.

"Our common goal is to come to a consensus as soon as possible... I really hope that we can come to an agreement this summer. This still requires a lot of willingness to compromise from all sides," said Merkel.

She said Germany would continue to push for a new partnership agreement with Britain, but the EU should be prepared for a no-deal split from 2021.

"We have agreed with Britain to accelerate the pace of the talks... I will continue to push for a good solution, but we should also prepare for a possible no-deal situation," said Merkel. (1 euro = 1.13 U.S. dollars)


blog comments powered by Disqus