Von der Leyen, Merkel urge EU action to tackle Covid-19 crisis

Brussels, Jul 2 (efe-epa).- The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday warned of the “huge pressure” EU member states face to approve an economic recovery plan and a seven-year budget amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Von der Leyen was speaking at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel one day after Germany took over the rotating presidency of the European Council.

“Every day we lose, we will be seeing people losing their jobs, companies going bust, the weakening of our economies. Every single day counts,” the EC president said.

“To succeed in this gigantic task, it takes not only the good steer of the German presidency, it also requires all member states and stakeholders to look beyond narrow interests and focus on the benefits for our European Union.”

Members of the EC met with the German government by video conference on Thursday, with discussions on how to fast track the bloc’s economic recovery high on the agenda.

Merkel acknowledged that her government was taking over the presidency at the height of the “worst crisis” the EU has ever faced.

“We know that Europe is in the most difficult situation in its history,” said Merkel.

“Every day we see that the coronavirus has not disappeared. In such a time, unity is especially tested,” she said, thanking von der Leyen for steadfastly demanding joint action at the European level to tackle the crisis.

The pandemic and the bloc’s recovery will be the key issue at a European Council summit on July 17 and 18, the first of Merkel’s government’s presidency.

A wide-reaching 750-billion economic recovery package unveiled by von der Leyen in May needs to be ratified by the bloc’s member states.

“I will go to Brussels on July 17 with the will to reach an agreement,” the Chancellor said.

She also emphasized the key role the EU will be required to play as a global leader in overcoming the worst of the pandemic.

“We all know that the response to an unprecedented crisis must be convincing. We have a role to play in the world”. EFE


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