today held a video conference with the ambassadors of the EU Member States and accession candidates in Germany to discuss the response of the European Union and Germany to the Covid-19 pandemic. The discussion focused on the role of the European Union in overcoming the crisis and the contribution that can be made by the current Croatian EU Council Presidency and the subsequent German EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020.
Minister Peter Altmaier said: "The Covid-19 pandemic presents us with historic challenges for our health systems, our liberal society and our competitive economy. This crisis shows how closely our economies are interlinked and how important it is to ensure we have a well-functioning EU internal market. The virus doesn’t stop at borders, which is why we will only be able to overcome the crisis if we all join forces and work together as a strong European Union based on solidarity. This will also be the guiding principle for Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2020. I am therefore working to safeguard the competitiveness of the European economy – especially industry and SMEs, to maintain their innovative capability and resilience in a sustainable and future-oriented manner, and to improve their strength and performance so that we emerge from the crisis stronger in the medium and long term.”
The exchange took place at the invitation of the Croatian Embassy in Berlin within the scope of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2020. Germany will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for half a year from July 2020.