Balance Sheet of Merkel’s EU Presidency

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Completing the term presidency of the European Union, Germany handed over the flag to Portugal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hallmark struck by the 6-month period, Turkey did not fall from the agenda. Although criticized in his own country for “not meeting all its goals”, European capitals praised Merkel for a successful term presidency. Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who took over the flag from Merkel, drew attention to the difficulties of the next 6 months, saying “The difficulties of our period are not less than the period of Germany”.

The European Union entered 2021 by losing England, but despite the Corona virus pandemic, it managed to survive by maintaining its corporate unity. Portugal took over the flag on Friday, January 1, after Germany’s six-month term presidency. As required by the troika system, the EU term presidents are working in cooperation with the 3 countries that have completed the task, are in office and will take over after 6 months. Portugal, which took over from Germany, will give the task to Slovenia on 1 July.

Did Merkel on Turkey wants to reach the goal?

The European media expressed the opinion that Germany achieved many important successes during the term presidency, especially the pandemic aid plan, environmental targets and the successful conclusion of the Brexit agreement. Merkel has managed to keep the EU alive in many cases, thanks to her cool nature and the driving force of Germany. But could not reach the goal he wants to sit on the negotiating table with Turkey. One of the important items on the agenda of the coming period will still be Turkey and Eastern Mediterranean crisis. Turkey to “sanctions” topic, the President elected of the United States Joe Biden postponed until after the time when the task of EU leaders, the issue was postponed EU-Turkey relations more comprehensive deal will form the summit in March to discuss.

What will happen on the EU agenda under the leadership of Portugal?

Portuguese Prime Minister Socialist politician Antonio Costa, who took over his post from a leader like Merkel who had ruled his country for four terms but still hasn’t melted in popularity, has a hard time. Speaking to the Portuguese magazine Expresso, Costa said, “The next stage is no less challenging,” stressing that the EU still has to address extremely important issues. “Yes, the COVID aid package has passed, the vaccine approval has been given. Now it is an important task to put the aid plan into practice and the successful conclusion of the vaccination campaign. It will be a difficult period when the tools we have obtained will be put into practice,” said Costa.

The Lisbon administration, in cooperation with the German Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, will continue its task of coordinating the fight against the Corona virus, whose fire is not extinguished and the third wave is feared. On the other hand, it will organize the distribution of 750 billion Euros of grant to be received from financial markets by the Commission to EU member countries. Following the European Medicines Agency’s approval for Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, it will manage fair distribution of vaccines and simultaneous vaccination to all members. The EU’s environmental protection targets and digital restructuring will also be on the agenda. In order for all this to progress regularly, the Lisbon administration plans to convene a “Social summit” in the city of Porto on 7-8 May.

Europe applauded, Germany criticized

Angela Merkel, who assumed the leadership of the EU in the midst of the epidemic that shook the world, chose the title “All together for the recovery of Europe” for the term presidency. It is noteworthy that the interpretations and analyzes regarding to what extent Merkel achieved this goal set by him are of different or even diverging content. In the comments coming from France, the other powerful country of the EU and Brussels, the center of the union, Germany’s term presidency is defined as successful, while the analyzes made in Berlin show that the expectations were not fulfilled.

So how does Merkel see her six months? Evaluating the remaining six months before the EU handed over the key to Portugal, Merkel stated that “Corona created many difficulties, upset our plans. Most of what we planned could not be implemented, it was a pity”, and stated that he was not very satisfied. “We left you a lot of work to do,” Merkel said at the handover ceremony with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa. With these words, Merkel also acknowledged that new problems were added to the EU’s already existing problems.

In the prominent comments in the German media, the biggest advantage of Merkel was the signing of the Brexit agreement with the UK at the last moment, while it managed to keep the EU countries shaken by the Corona crisis together without a major break, but had to make concessions in many areas. It is suggested. One of the most criticized issues in Germany is Poland and Hungary, which block the EU’s budget for the next seven years by putting forward their “national interests”, and the countries where nationalist and authoritarian parties are in power in order to prevent Germany from breaking up the union. connivance is lined up.

6 videos, 15 phone calls with Erdoğan

Another criticism of the subject, depending on the developments in France’s Aegean and Mediterranean to calls for tough measures against Turkey in Berlin’s distant approach. Merkel, assume the role of mediator to reduce tension, France, Germany and Greece, which led to the opposition and Prime Minister of Turkey with the EU instead of being saved for strategic reasons they have chosen to watch.

Merkel, in his evaluations of transferring the presidency, said the failure of the mediation efforts until now he was disappointed and “I think dialogue extent not adopted proposals directed to Turkey. “The activities in the Southern Mediterranean are still continuing, Cyprus is suffering from this,” he said.

But in recent days the rest of the year after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Merkel speech and thanks to for constructive contributions and efforts exhibited for Turkey-EU relations, the attitude of the German chancellor contained an important message in terms of assessing how by Ankara. Erdogan’s most frequent meeting in 2020 was German Chancellor Merkel. The two leaders met 15 times on the phone and 6 times on video conference calls.

The most tangible success of Merkel’s German presidency was the decision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. The target before the new decision was 40 percent. Emphasizing that this compromise was a “very, very important result”, Merkel said “It was worth not sleeping a night for this,” referring to the last EU summit in Brussels.

High praise to Merkel from the French media

Merkel, who was criticized by the German media and politicians, was praised by the European media, especially the French media. The French media stated that Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel, who “managed to keep the European ship alive in the midst of the storm”, displayed important achievements that will go into EU history.

The left-leaning newspaper Liberation wrote, “Merkel, who is about to finish his fourth and final term in Germany, together with great German politicians such as Helmut Kohl and Konrad Adenauer … Merkel has written the general interest of Europe not only before his country, but sometimes. He put it in the foreground despite his country. His performance is very impressive, “he said.

Stating that Germany could not achieve its goals completely due to the pandemic, the economy newspaper Les Echos said, “Although Berlin had to give up some of its initial goals, the leadership of Europe’s greatest power gave 27 member countries the chance to make significant progress in the storm.” The newspaper praising Angela Merkel’s EU administration with the definition of “Untypical period, non-typical presidency” said, “Even face-to-face meetings could not be held due to the pandemic, the agenda turned upside down, difficult negotiations could not be held on the intervening TV screens. The strength and ability of its leader to make concessions without battering countries bore fruit, and in European history, Angela Merkel’s reputation rose. Mutual coverage of some national debt, an increase in climate targets, an agreement on Brexit … Angela Merkel was able to demonstrate an unexpected performance without leaving any black shadow. ” said.

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