Tag Archives: Angela Merkel

EU-China Summit: «agree to disagree»

«I’m pleased that we could speak by video conference with President Xi, together with Ursula (von der Leyen) and Angela (Merkel). Unfortunately, our physical meeting in Leipzig wasn’t possible» said Charles Michel, the Euroepan Council president after the meeting.

«Europe needs to be a player, not a playing field. Today’s meeting represents another step forward in forging a more balanced relationship with China.

«We strive for a relationship that delivers on our mutual commitments. That generates concrete results for both sides. Results that are also good for the world. In some areas, we are on the right track. In others, more work needs to be done.

«We made it clear where we stand. Where we agree, and where we disagree. Real differences exist and we won’t paper over them. But we are ready to engage. Ready to cooperate where we can, and ready to roll up our sleeves to find concrete solutions. And on those difficult issues, we conveyed a clear and united European message: we want a relationship with China that is based on reciprocity, responsibility, and basic fairness.

Today we addressed 4 key topics:
1. Climate change
2. Economic and trade issues
3. International Affairs and Human Rights
4. COVID-19 and economic recovery

«China is a key global partner in reducing global greenhouse gas and tackling climate change. And we encourage China to be even more ambitious. The EU is setting the bar high — carbon neutrality by 2050. And we count on China to show similar leadership by implementing the Paris Agreement. We have a robust trading relationship with China. The EU is China’s first trading partner. On average we trade over 1 billion euros a day.

Trade can energise our economic recovery. But we want more fairness. We want a more balanced relationship. That also means reciprocity and a level playing field. That’s why we welcome today’s signature of the Agreement on Geographical Indications. It’s a big step in the right direction. We are working on a comprehensive investment agreement and concrete results in other important areas.

And in the digital domain, we defend our vision of a free, open and secure cyberspace. For the good of our people and our societies. As global players, the EU and China have global responsibilities. This means upholding the rules-based international order.

The national security law for Hong Kong continues to raise grave concerns. The EU and our Member States have responded with one clear voice. Democratic voices in Hong Kong should be heard, rights protected, and autonomy preserved. We called on China to keep their promises to the people of Hong Kong and the international community.

We reiterated our concerns over China’s treatment of minorities in Xinjiang and Tibet, and the treatment of human rights defenders and journalists. We asked for access for independent observers to Xinjiang and we called for the release of the arbitrarily detained Swedish citizen Gui Minhai and two Canadian citizens.

We agreed to discuss these issues in detail at the Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing later this year which will also include, we hope, a field visit to Tibet.

We called on China to refrain from unilateral actions in the South China Sea, to respect international law, and avoid escalations.

Covid-19 remains a deep and urgent threat. Only collective and transparent action will send this virus to the history books. There is only one way to find a vaccine and deploy it in all countries … that’s global cooperation.

We expect all countries, to cooperate with the impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international health response to COVID-19, and support the WHO to identify the source of the virus.

We encourage China to pursue an economic recovery that leads to structural reforms and that shapes a greener, more sustainable economy. This includes implementing the G20 Action Plan to drive sustainable global growth and reduce global tensions. And in Africa, China should be engaged in multilateral efforts on debt relief that will spur economic recovery.

En conclusion, nos discussions aujourd’hui ont été extrêmement importantes. Nous mesurons bien que parler, dialoguer est important mais cela ne suffit pas, il s’agit de transformer nos messages en actes.

Nous sommes déterminés à continuer à être engagés avec la Chine pour promouvoir nos valeurs, pour défendre nos intérêts. Nous voulons une relation équilibrée, fondée sur le respect pour les intérêts mutuels.

Nous considérons que la réciprocité, la transparence doivent être au cœur de l’engagement porté par l’Union européenne. »

Navalny attacked with Novichok

German government made an announcement on September 2 that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent, the same type of chemical used in Britain against ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The discovery raised tensions between Berlin and Moscow.

Tests carried out by the German military experts on Navalny, who is being treated in a Berlin hospital Chairité, have provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok family,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

“It is a shocking event that Alexei Navalny has become the victim of an attack with a chemical nerve agent in Russia.

“The government condemns this attack in the strongest terms. The Russian government is urgently requested to provide clarifications over the incident,” he added.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany had called in Russia’s ambassador to demand answers on the case.

Navalny, 44, fell ill after boarding a plane in Siberia last month. The pilots took a decision of an urgent landing to deliver him with ambulance to a local hospital in Omsk. Navalny received the first aid at the Omsk hospital near airport, before being flown to Berlin for treatment.

The nerve agent Novichok is a military-grade poison that was developed by the Soviet government towards the end of the Cold War and can be deployed in an ultra-fine powder, liquid or vapour.

The Charite hospital last week reported “some improvement” in Navalny’s condition but he nevertheless remains in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator.

The severity of the poisoning meant that it was too early to determine potential long-term effects, the hospital warned.

Charite doctors said they believed the anti-corruption campaigner was poisoned with a substance that inhibits the cholinesterase enzyme, a feature of nerve agents.

AMENDED:

Merkel sets German Presidency priorities

MEPs discussed with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen the strategy and goals of the German Presidency in the coming six months.
Under the motto “Together for Europe’s recovery”, the German presidency is determined to tackle the huge challenge posed by the pandemic, Mrs Merkel said. She highlighted five areas that Europe needs to work on if it wants to emerge unified and strong from the current crisis: fundamental rights, solidarity and cohesion, climate change, digitisation and Europe’s role in the world. “Germany is prepared to show extraordinary solidarity”, she underlined, to build a Europe that is green, innovative, sustainable, more digital and competitive. “Europe is capable of achieving great things if we work together and stand together in solidarity”, she concluded.

“The challenge ahead for all of us could not be more extraordinary”, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “But we can emerge stronger thanks to Next Generation EU. Germany chose the word: together. That is the engine of our union”. She underlined that Europe needed both, a new EU long-term budget (MFF) and Next Generation EU. The Commission will do its utmost to make sure we will reach agreement, she said.

Manfred Weber (EPP, DE) said that the EU stumbles from crisis to crisis because of fear. “Fear is the enemy of solidarity, future and freedom”. There are high expectations for the German Presidency, he continued. “The EU needs now courage to show solidarity: We need a solution this month for the Recovery Fund”, Weber insisted. “No community can survive without community spirit. For us, this is simply the European Way of Life.”

Iratxe García Perez (S&D, ES) offered to work “side by side” with the German Presidency to overcome North-South and East-West differences and divisions in Europe, for the benefit of citizens.

“We have to prove that it is possible to create a fairer and more sustainable society, which thinks about the environment and future generations (…), protects workers, values diversity and manages migration flows with solidarity”, she added.

“The priority right now must be the adoption of the recovery plan and the new multiannual financial framework”, said Dacian Ciolos (Renew Europe, RO). “We build Europe around a project, a vision and strong values”, he added. “It is high time we make the respect of the rule of law a condition for accessing EU funds. The political opportunity is here. Use this unprecedented package as leverage”.

Jörg Meuthen (ID, DE) criticised the chancellor for being ignorant and ideological. “You are betraying the European idea and endangering the future of coming generations”, he said, pointing to the European Green Deal and the recovery fund. “Your understanding of solidarity is absurd”, he concluded.

Ska Keller (Greens/EFA, DE) said the same decisiveness that the EU shows against COVID-19 should apply to the climate crisis. “We need to overcome the Coronavirus crisis and to avoid the climate crisis”. The German presidency can make an important contribution here, she said, such as an ambitious climate law, calling for 65 % reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Rafaele Fitto (ECR, IT) said that up to now the EU’s response to the pandemic was “slow, not very efficient and lacking in true solidarity”. Germany should put aside selfishness and recover the original spirit of the EU by avoiding the mistakes of the past. “We need to revitalise the economy, implement favourable trade policies and relaunch the single market.”

Martin Schirdewan (GUE/NGL, DE) recalled the harmful austerity policies implemented during the financial crisis and appealed to Mrs Merkel not to make the mistake twice. He also called on Germany to make Council protocols public and transparent and to no longer block a proposal on digital tax on big companies.

Franco-German €500bn recovery plan

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron propose a major financial recovery fund worth €500 billion.

Both leaders have proposed that the EU borrows on the financial markets in order to disperse some €500bn through grants to European economies hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the Franco-German proposal the member states receiving the funds would not need to repay the cash.

Liability for the debt would instead be added to the EU budget, to which member states contributions vary according to the size and prosperity of their economies.

Should the proposal receive the endorsement of the 25 other member states, it would amount to a significant move towards a level of burden-sharing and fiscal transfers firmly opposed during past crises. The European commission would borrow the money under the EU’s name.

It would come on top of the bloc’s next budget — the Multiannual Financial Framework — and the €540 billion of loans already announced by the Eurogroup.

The money raised by the Commission would be used “in a targeted manner” to support sectors and regions particularly impacted by the pandemic.

Speaking during a virtual press conference with France’s president, Merkel said: “We are convinced that it is not only fair but also necessary to now make available the funds … that we will then gradually repay through several future European budgets”.

Merkel predicts “difficult” EU budget Summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that talks to set the European Union’s budget for the coming seven years will be “very difficult” at an extraordinary summit beginning February 20 in Brussels.

We think our concerns are not sufficiently addressed on many points, and I therefore see very tough and difficult negotiations ahead,” Merkel told reporters at a Berlin press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (pictured).

Germany and Finland belong to the circle of mainly northern European EU members that pay more into the EU budget than they get out, known as net contributors“.

EU heads of state or government will discuss the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027 during a special meeting of the European Council on 20 February 2020.

In his invitation letter, the President of the European Council Charles Michel said: “The time has come to reach an agreement at our level on the multiannual financial framework.”

Putin to meet Zelensky bilaterally

Russian President Vladimir Putin schedules bilateral meetings with Ukrainian, French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and President Vladimir Zelensky at margins of the Normandy Four Summit in Paris on December 9, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced.

Peskov underlined that the Kremlin expected the Normandy Four summit will contribute to conflict resolution in southeastern Ukraine.

“[Putin’s] attitude is serious, the only expectation is to facilitate efforts to resolve the domestic conflict in southeastern Ukraine, ensure a common understanding that there is no alternative to implementing the Minsk Agreements and prevent attempts to dilute them,” spokesperson said.

Peskov expressed confidence in French authorities capabilities to succeed in creating necessary conditions for thec Summit despite the current protests in Paris.

We are not inclined to exaggerate the threats the Summit could face as we believe that the French authorities are capable of creating conditions for the meeting and will do it,” Peskov said.

Merkel expects Brexit deal approval

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on November 12 that she expected Westminster to approve British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Article 50 deal with the European Union.

 

The United Kingdom voted by 52%-48% in 2016 to leave the EU, albeit without deciding how it would be done with or without a deal.

 

NATO Stoltenberg praises Merkel leadership

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Germany for its vital contributions to the Alliance in talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel on November 7, 2019.

Speaking at a press conference at the Chancellery, Mr. Stoltenberg praised Germany’s leadership of multinational NATO forces in Lithuania, its hosting of the Alliance’s new mobility command in Ulm and its important contributions to NATO operations from Afghanistan to Kosovo and the Aegean Sea.

The two leaders also discussed preparations for the meeting of NATO leaders in December in London, including the need for higher readiness of NATO forces and fairer burden-sharing within the Alliance.

Merkel-Johnson meeting in view

Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meeting is planned soon, a spokesman for the German government said on August 16, he added that details would be announced later.

Previously the were reports that the German Chancellor will “stick to the line” that the so called “backstop” of Irish border can’t be removed, and the Withdrawal Agreement can’t be changed according to a Finance Ministry paper.

 

EU top jobs apple of discord

The EU leaders discussion of the attribution of  bloc’s top jobs  started at late dinner concluding agenda of Summit in Brussels (#EUCO). However the chances to come to an agreement remain minimal as France and Germany cast doubt on any imminent deal, also the Eastern European member-states (Vicegrad 4) vividly opposed both leading candidates from biggest European political groups the EPP and S&D for various reasons.

The 28 national leaders meet in Brussels on June 20-21 to assign the top jobs of the bloc for coming years on the entire spectrum of issues.

“In Europe, our coalition of progress must prevail. We need to find the women and men who can carry an ambitious roadmap at the heart of the European institutions. This is a key issue for the European Council meeting today“, French President Emmanuel Macron said at arrival to the European Council.

Antonio Tajani,  the president of the European Parliament, was  reminiscent of cardinals locked to select a Pope, hinting of disagreements among the member-states, and European political families.

However the nominations should be made before the new European parliament starts its session on July 2 in Strasbourg. By the time the European Council has to announce the major appointments, including the top job of the President of the European Commission, de facto “Prime Minister of Europe“.

 

 

 

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