Between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020, Germany has assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).
With the COVID-19 situation and its associated economic impact, this is a critical time for Germany to have this rotating role for the next six months. Also, this period covers central EU discussions about the next European Financial Framework for the years 2021-2027, including the so-called Green Deal climate policy.
What does this mean for the bilateral Australia-Germany relationship, particularly the economic relationship?
Each Council Presidency country develops a specific programme for its six-month Presidency. Usually, they are coordinated with the preceding and following Presidency and are then called Trio Presidency. Germany last assumed the Council Presidency in 2007.
From a bilateral perspective, it is good to see that Germany has identified “a strong Europe in the world” as a focus area. That Australia is a like-minded partner shows in many bilateral initiatives such as the Australia-Germany Joint Economic Committee – established in 2019 – or the Energy Dialogue between governments and industry from Australia and Germany.
It is also worth mentioning that the EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement negotiations are at a very advanced stage. The German government has supported the establishment of a comprehensive agreement to remove as many tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.
The German-Australian Chamber (AHK Australia) will continue to play a very active and productive part in the bilateral relationship and brings German and Australian businesses together.
Please find more information about the German Council Presidency here: https://www.eu2020.de/eu2020-en/aktuelles/article/germany-eu-council-presidency-brandenburg-gate/2360928.