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The German Presidency of the EU Council 2020. What Role for Paris and Berlin? Allemagne d'aujourd'hui, No. 236, April-June 2021

The German EU presidency in the second half of 2020 was Angela Merkel’s last presidency, shortly before her chancellorship ends in 2021. It was therefore expected that the Chancellor would use all her experience and influence to achieve positive results.

The range of issues on the agenda was considerable. These included resolving the dispute over the EU’s multi-annual budget, completing the Brexit, stepping up pressure on Poland and Hungary on the issue of respect for the rule of law, pushing through the Franco-German recovery plan and making progress on important issues such as digitalization, the fight against climate change and the now highly controversial trade partnership with China. In addition, the pandemic has significantly altered the German Presidency’s agenda. On many of the issues Berlin needed and got France’s support. Nevertheless, not all the differences between Germany and France could be overcome, particularly in the area of common security and defense policy, and on the economic and monetary level with regard to the governance of the euro zone. These differences remain on the Franco-German agenda.


Hans Stark is Professor of Contemporary German Civilization and Counselor on Franco-German relations at Ifri.



Angela Merkel Angela Merkel's successor French-German cooperation German Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2020 Germany