In the second half of 2020 Germany will assume the Presidency of the EU Council and will play a strong role in helping shape the European Union’s future face.
Germany – Strong Partner in the EU
The cohesion of the European Union forms the basis for the Member States’ peace, security and prosperity. As one of the founding EU Member States, German actively advocates “more Europe”.
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Shaping Europe’s future
Germany supports even more intensive European cooperation when it comes to foreign and security policy, not to mention research, digitization and climate protection.
The most important steps along the path to a united Europe and other significant stages of the partnership.
Europeans vote together. The Members of the European Parliament, which sits in Strasbourg and Brussels, are directly elected for the first time. They had previously been delegated by the national parliaments.
Europe’s union becomes tangible for its citizens. In Schengen in Luxembourg, Germany, France and the Benelux countries agree to end internal border controls. Other countries follow.
Europe gives itself a common currency. In initially 12 EU member states, the cash euro is introduced; it had served as book money since 1999. The new European Central Bank (ECB) is based in Frankfurt/Main.
On 1 May Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta, and Cyprus join the EU. Bulgaria and Romania follow three years later; Croatia in 2013.
The EU presents a united front to the world. The Lisbon Treaty institutionalises the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) to a greater extent. The Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy chairs the Foreign Affairs Council and simultaneously serves as Vice President of the European Commission. He is supported by the recently established European External Action Service (EEAS).
The EU decides to introduce the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). In the light of the lessons learned from the financial crisis it will, under strict conditions, support members who have got into difficulty. Furthermore, the EU receives the Nobel Peace Prize. German politician Martin Schulz becomes President of the European Parliament and remains in office until 2017.
Likewise in response to the financial crisis, the Banking Union is created. The same regulations now apply for financial institutes throughout Euroland. They are intended to guarantee that banks only take minimal risks and that possible burdens on taxpayers are reduced.
As its President, Ursula von der Leyen becomes the first woman to head the EU Commission. She is the second German in the position following Walter Hallstein, who was in office from 1958 until 1967.
At the end of January Great Britain leaves the EU. “Brexit” is the result of a referendum held in 2016. EU regulations continue to apply for Great Britain for a transition period lasting until the end of 2020.