Merkel must use Council presidency to help make EU future-proof – opinion
Chancellor Angela Merkel must now walk the walk when it comes to making sure climate action “tops” the German EU Council presidency agenda and ensuring that the coronavirus recovery packages are used to make the bloc future-proof, writes Bernhard Pötter in tageszeitung (taz). Merkel has to successfully interlink the contentious EU budget with the “no less controversial” Green Deal, he writes. “With the right response to the multiple acute crises of corona, economy and climate, Angela Merkel can set an important course for the sustainability of our continent.” Her job will be to moderate the different forces within the EU, convincing the “frugal four” states that they have to spend more money if they want more climate action, and the poorer southern and eastern states “to slim down the coal industry and insulate buildings”, he writes. With an eye to a possible future government coalition between conservatives and the Green Party, currently the second largest party in national polls, Pötter writes: “Merkel could do nothing better for a black-green orientation of the next government than to put the EU on a climate-friendly course with massive investments in new jobs, green infrastructure and digitalisation.”
Merkel has in the past been dubbed “climate chancellor” for her commitment in international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, her track record is mixed, especially at EU level where she has in the past worked against tighter emissions limits for cars and only hesitantly signed on to the goal of climate neutrality by 2050.