European Council meeting in Brussels

Merkel at press conference

Federal Chancellor Merkel at press conference following the European Council,  20/21 February 2020, © Bundesregierung/Kugler

21.02.2020 - Article

The EU heads of state and government did not manage to reach an agreement on the EU’s budget for the next seven years at the special meeting of the European Council. The differences between the 27 EU member states are still too great, explained Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Negotiations on EU budget postponed

At the start of the negotiations on Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out that producing the European Union’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) is a highly complex task, that involves reconciling very divergent concerns. In order to ensure the EU grows together, Germany is ready and willing to contribute more to the EU than it gets back -  within a balanced framework.

Eastern German states still need regional assistance

One particular concern of Germany’s is that the eastern states continue to benefit from regional assistance. Parallel to this, Germany advocates a modern agenda that earmarks more cash for forward-looking tasks and ensures that the Cohesion Fund has the resources it needs.

Political solution for Syria

Alongside the EU budget, the dramatic humanitarian situation in Syria was on the agenda of the special meeting of the European Council. After the negotiations, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that she and the French President Emmanuel Macron had held talks with both the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In these talks they pushed for a political solution. Germany and France are ready to do their bit, she said, in order to improve the situation of the people affected in Idlib.

Meeting called by President of the European Council, Charles Michel

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, called the meeting, in order to come to an agreement on the EU’s multiannual financial framework for 2021 to 2027. In his invitation, he wrote, “I am fully aware that these negotiations are among the most difficult ones we have to face. But I am also convinced that with common sense and determination we can strike a deal that will benefit all Europeans.”

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