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Germany and Europe

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.

Fahnen Deutschland und Europa
Insights

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”.

Frau mit Europaflagge
Advocate of European integration

Germany is one of the founding European Union member states and even in difficult times supports European cohesion.

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Macron, Merkel
Franco-German friendship – a driving force

Germany and France share an eventful history. As partners they feel themselves particularly responsible for the future of Europe.

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Europakarte

The five EU countries with the most inhabitants

m. (Source: Eurostat) Inhabitants
83 Germany Off germany
67 France Off france
60,4 Italy Off italy
46,9 Spain Off spain
38 Poland Off poland

The four biggest countries in the EU

km² (Source: Eurostat) Biggest countries
633186 France Off france
505944 Spain Off spain
438574 Sweden Off sweden
357376 Germany Off germany

The five largest economies in the EU

bn euros (Source: Eurostat) Economies
3344 Germany Off germany
2353 France Off france
1765 Italy Off italy
1202 Spain Off spain
774 Netherlands Off netherlands

Germany’s five most important trading partners in the EU

bn euros (Source: Destatis) Trading partners
172 France Off france
190 Netherlands Off netherlands
125 Italy Off italy
110 Austria Off austria
123 Poland Off poland

The five biggest contributors in the EU

bn euros (Source: EU Commission) *Since 2020 no longer a member of the EU. Contributors
25,27 Germany Off germany
20,57 France Off france
15,22 Italy Off italy
10,31 Spain Off spain
13,46 Great Britain * Off united-kingdom
Fields of political action

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.

Europaflagge
Joint European action

With regard to foreign and security policy, Germany champions a united stance. 

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ESA Darmstadt
European answers to questions concerning the future

Europa has ambitious goals when it comes to climate protection. The European partners also intend to shape digital transformation and the future of research together.

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Timeline

Europe

The most important steps along the path to a united Europe and other significant stages of the partnership.

Römische Verträge 1957
© dpa

The European unification process begins. The signing of the Treaties of Rome by Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands marks the foundation of the European Economic Community (EEC).

Wahlplakate 1979
© dpa

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.

Schengen
© dpa

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.

Euro-Einführung
© dpa

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.

EU-Osterweiterung
© dpa

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.

EU gemeinsam in der Welt
© dpa

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).

EU erhält Friedensnobelpreis
© dpa

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.

Auge auf den Euro
© dpa

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.

Ursula von der Leyen
© dpa

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.

Brexit Flaggen EU und Großbritannien
© dpa

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.