On 1 July, the day that Germany took over the Presidency of the European Council, the ALDE Party in collaboration with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Europe hosted a Liberal Breakfast to discuss liberal expectations for the German EU Council presidency and why having a strong policy agenda for the next six months is so crucial. Nicola Beer (Vice-President of the European Parliament and MEP of ALDE member FDP in Germany) was the speaker for the event. She was interviewed by Jennifer Baker, journalist and host of the BrusselsGeek blog.
The event began with a discussion on COVID-19 and how the German presidency can help steer the post-lockdown recovery initiatives. Beer mentioned the importance of taking the opportunity and working hard for a recovery for Europe to come out of this situation better and stronger than before. Concerning the recovery package, Beer highlighted the need for the “Next Generation EU” programme to provide growth, modernisation and innovation, especially in the sectors of the Green Deal and Digitisation.
Another topic discussed throughout the morning was the multiannual financial framework (MFF). Beer pointed out that all Member States needed to be assured that this financial instrument pursues a common goal and benefits them individually, rather than being a burden, but also warned that these goals would then also have to be achieved by channelling the money into future-proofed projects and reforms.
Baker then delved into the European foreign policy expectations for the Council Presidency, where Beer pointed out that the EU Member States must act together to be stronger and be recognised as a global player. The EU must fill the gap left by the US and be a stronger partner within NATO, as other countries with different governmental systems, such as China, could take this opportunity.
Lastly, the conference on the future of Europe was of particular concern for Beer in the discussion on the Council Presidency expectations, since it is Germany’s responsibility to start the conference during its presidency. The conference should be open to any outcome, including treaty changes and overall help the EU to prepare for future challenges.
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