Germany takes over the EU presidency from Croatia. The expectations are huge. The heads of state and government of the EU 2020 have argued unsuccessfully about the Community budget four times. But now, under the experienced Angela Merkel, who has been hardened in night sessions, everything will be fine.
The EU has wasted countless meetings at the highest level since 2016 in an orderly Brexit. Thanks to the Germans who understand the British, there should now be a happy ending. At the EU-China summit, Merkel strikes a new balance of mutual rights and obligations, from investment protection to Hong Kong’s autonomy.
So it goes on with far too many expectations, as if a German Presidency followed the fairy tales of the good, wise king and the bad stepmothers. Germany advances peace in Ukraine, the relationship with the United States is in order, and establishes the EU as a regulatory power in the Middle East, which imposes sanctions on Israel’s annexation plans.
Climate policy becomes the top priority, civil society groups become the spearhead of accelerated integration.
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After Corona, the EU will communitize the fight against pandemics and overtake China and the USA in digitalization. All this and more in six months. And they all lived happily everafter.
Only the Germans are said to be able to do what others failed
Germans like to hear that only they can succeed where others have failed. Your country has an impact. But it is not a good, wise king. In some conflicts, it belongs to the bad stepmothers themselves. The obstacles that have prevented budget, Brexit, China and other issues from settling remain.
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27 EU members each have their own interests. And too many place their national goals above the common good. Let the others give in to make compromises possible. When in doubt, you are playing for time and hoping for the next summit. Perhaps the pressure of suffering cooks the opponents soft.
Grants for Italy, conditions for Poland – how should that work?
Germany will inevitably disappoint many expectations because of the lack of time and energy. The tough argument about finances devours them. The EU has to decide its budget for the next seven years, 2021 to 2027, and would like to adopt a corona aid package in parallel, totaling 1.8 trillion euros.
This is only unanimous. Judging by this, some suggestions seem like reverie. The rich Italy and the south receive most of the aid as unconditional grants, but funds for the poorer eastern countries are conditional? Ten of the 27 are in the east, why should you be there?
Why does it have to be that much money at all, the Netherlands, Austria and others ask. Because the first Brussels principle for arbitration is: Money that you want to spend more must not be taken from anyone. It must also go to the cash register.
New alliances: the south with the east against the north
This is at the expense of the net payers. Italy is one of them, but it hopes to get more help than it needs to finance it. This can lead to new alliances: the south led by Italy with the east led by Poland against the north.
And Germany in between, in the role of mediator because of the EU Presidency and at the same time as the largest net contributor. Hardly anyone believes in a solution in July. More peaks will follow. Brexit will require further crisis meetings.
China will use the overwhelming demands of the EU and the German presidency to gain advantages. A lot will be left behind, the next one has to take care of it, Slovenia.
The EU as a global player? Postponed
The ambition was for the EU to enter the next year stronger, with the claim to global leadership alongside the United States and China. In reality, she is primarily concerned with herself.
What she needs most is a reform of her decision-making processes. So that she can work through what she plans to do. Without fairytale hopes of a certain chair.