Merkel Backs ‘Accomplished’ E.U. for Global Role in Coronavirus Crisis

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a press conference in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, May 6, 2020 after an online meeting of Merkel and the German state governors on the loosening of the restictions to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, pool)
AP Photo/Michael Sohn, pool

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday outlined her vision for a global European Union, backing it to deliver guidance on handling the Chinese coronavirus pandemic based on what she claimed was the manifest evidence of the organization’s achievements.

In a speech outlining Germany’s priorities when it takes over the E.U.’s rotating presidency in July, Merkel acknowledged the pandemic had destroyed a host of previous certainties but backed the E.U. to help bring the world to order, AFP reports.

Her simple solution is: more E.U. in more places more often. This is despite the evidence Europe has struggled from day one to achieve any level of unanimous agreement on how to handle the crisis, with individual member states each taking their own course and eschewing direction from Brussels:

“Especially in times of crisis I want the European Union to show solidarity on a global level too and take on more responsibility,” she told the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung think tank by video link.

“In many places, the pandemic will intensify existing conflicts and problems and will therefore also become a stress test for the European Union.”

Merkel pointed to the E.U. as an exemplar of  “democracy, freedom and the protection of human dignity” that the world can aspire to, adding:

I see our presidency as a chance to further develop Europe as a capable, cohesive, and accomplished power that takes responsibility for the peace and security on the planet.

Europe could not tackle the world’s problems alone, however, and she said the United States remained Europe’s “most important partner.”

“Of course I’m aware that the cooperation with America is currently more difficult than we’d like,” Merkel said, pointing to differences with President Donald Trump’s administration on a broad range of issues including the World Health Organization and its bungled handling of the coronavirus epidemic.

While offering advice to the U.S. on how it could further cooperation with Europe, Merkel neglected to note the very public fractures already appearing in the organization:

French National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen back in March was pointing to failures in E.U. unity and cooperation, claiming solidarity was one of the first victims when the virus first reached European soil, as Breitbart News reported.

Italy’s populist League leader Senator Matteo Salvini was another to add his voice of disappear to the E.U.’s collective response.

He said: “I hope the pro-Europeans have understood that if Europe is hunger and death and sacrifice it is not the future that we must leave to our children.”

“Let’s take back our country into our hands without going cap in hand to anyone. Long live Italy and long live the Italians,” Salvini added.

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