European flags in front of the European Parliament building in Brussels

© adobe.stock.com/Grecaud Paul

Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union is set to end as the year draws to a close.

Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, is pleased with what has been achieved: “When Germany assumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU, it took responsibility in very challenging times. ‘Together for Europe’s recovery’ is the motto we have sought to live up to. I am proud that, through close and trusting cooperation with our European partners, we have taken major steps in the past six months to make sure Europe’s economy will not only recover, but emerge stronger from the crisis. We have taken the necessary measures in response to the crisis and have also set the course for the future in important ways. We have managed to strengthen Europe’s digital sovereignty, with all 27 Member States expressing their commitment to a European Cloud Federation. We have paved the way for joint European projects in key forward-looking fields. Eighteen Member States are willing to cooperate at European level in the field of microprocessors and semiconductor technologies. And just last week, the foundation was laid for cooperation on European hydrogen projects involving 22 EU Member States and Norway. In spite of the crisis, we have clearly set our sails for the future. This is how we can succeed in emerging stronger from this crisis.”

Under Germany’s Presidency, the Council of the European Union has agreed on important strategic guidelines concerning issues such as the future of the Single Market, European industrial policy, public procurement and better regulation. These are major steps towards creating a modern level playing field, particularly for SMEs and the industrial sector, and towards enhancing the resilience of Europe’s economy.

The voice of the European Union as an advocate of open markets and rules-based trade has been strengthened during Germany’s Council Presidency. Substantial progress has been made in the discussions on the reorientation of EU trade policy and the future of EU relations with the United States and China – two important trading partners.

By adopting joint declarations on the European Cloud Federation and on the launch of a European initiative in the field of microprocessors and semiconductor technologies, EU Member States have taken major steps towards enhancing Europe’s digital sovereignty and establishing a secure European infrastructure for data.

Germany’s Council Presidency has also placed a clear focus on efforts to shape structural change and harness the opportunities offered by the European Green Deal. By reaching broad political agreement with the European Parliament on the legislative package for the EU structural funds, the foundation has been laid for a modern EU structural policy that promotes investment in forward-looking technologies and supports economic transformation. The Council conclusions on hydrogen and offshore wind energy, two key forward-looking technologies, represent a major contribution towards the attainment of the EU’s energy and climate targets.

Published by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the report ‘Taking stock of Germany’s Council Presidency in the field of economic policy – Results of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy’ summarises the progress that has been made in the course of the past six months.

The brochure can be found here.

After six months, the thirteenth German Presidency of the Council of the EU ends on 31 December 2020. Portugal will assume the Presidency in the first semester of 2021, Slovenia will follow in the second half of the year. Together with Germany, these countries form a trio presidency.