Overcoming the pandemic in a spirit of solidarity
Chancellor Angela Merkel has welcomed Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to the government guest house in Schloss Meseberg. At a joint press conference following their meeting, she expressed her delight that it was at last possible to meet again in person. Much has happened over the last few months, which was not yet expected when the European Council last met in February, said the Chancellor.
Preparations for the European Council meeting
The visit revolved around preparations for the European Council meeting on 17 and 18 July. At the meeting, the heads of state and government will be negotiating the planned recovery fund for the EU as well as the multiannual financial framework.
Italy has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, stressed the Chancellor. She paid tribute to the many people who have lost their lives. The pandemic, declared Angela Merkel, "broke over us without anybody being to blame". "That is why it is now our duty to act in a spirit of solidarity in order to overcome the consequences of this pandemic."
Deliberations in a spirit of great friendship
The people in Italy, said Angela Merkel, "have come through these difficult weeks with admirable discipline and patience". That is why the negotiations in Brussels should be conducted in a spirit of great friendship and solidarity. The negotiations, added the Chancellor, ought to "give all of us the opportunity to emerge from this major humanitarian disaster, and the resulting massive economic downturn, as well as possible".
Germany, like Italy and the other EU member states, has a vested interest in seeing the Single Market functioning properly. When value chains no longer function, it affects everybody to the same extent, said the Chancellor. "That is why we are all equally responsible for finding a good way out of this situation for the European Union and for all the member states."
A common goal
Angela Merkel pointed out that it had not proved possible to agree on a multiannual financial framework in February. This has now become even more complex, because the goal now is to adopt the multiannual financial framework along with the recovery fund. Both countries support this goal.
Last week Charles Michel, President of the European Council, presented proposals for the fund. Every member state wants to add its own national interests, said Angela Merkel, but Germany and Italy agree on the basic structure. She cannot say whether or not agreement will be reached in Brussels, said the Chancellor, although she stressed, "We will be making a concerted effort to come to a solution on Friday."