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‘Solidarity is a test’: Merkel wants EU to show resolve as Germany takes over bloc’s 6-month presidency

‘Solidarity is a test’: Merkel wants EU to show resolve as Germany takes over bloc’s 6-month presidency

German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged European Union leaders on Thursday to reach agreement on a multi-billion-euro coronavirus recovery fund, calling for resolve, as Berlin took the helm of the bloc.

The EU’s chief executive Ursula von der Leyen joined the chancellor via video link. She warned that the next six months were crucial, after the region had reacted slowly to the coronavirus and was now facing a severe economic downturn.

“In such times, solidarity is a test,” Merkel said. Italy and Spain, the EU countries most affected by the novel coronavirus, have questioned the value of the union in the crisis.

The rotating six-month presidency gives only limited power, but Merkel faces huge expectations that she can negotiate a breakthrough on the recovery-fund plans and a new 2021–2027 budget for the bloc, Reuters said.