German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech at the German Bundesrat in Berlin on Friday, talking about the challenges Europe is faced with during Germany's six-month-long EU Council Presidency which has started a few days ago.
«Europe must take on more global responsibility in the world,» declared the chancellor, who also stressed that European cohesion was more necessary than ever before as «the coronavirus pandemic has also revealed the fragility of the European project.»
Merkel stated that «China is an economic competitor and at the same time a strategic partner» is both an economic competitor and strategic partner, and emphasised that to «represent our European interests against China effectively, Europe has to speak unitedly with one voice.»
The chancellor also mentioned the recent passage of a new national security law in Hong Kong, saying that talks with China would include discussions on «the rule of law, human rights and Hong Kong's future,» adding that there was a «concern that the principle 'one country, two systems' has been more and more undermined.»
Merkel explained what she regards as the three big challenges for the future, apart from the pandemic, for Germany's presidency term: climate protection, digital revolution and European global responsibility.
«It's worth standing cohesively for our European concept. it's worth keeping our Europe together. That's what I stand for,» she added.
Germany's six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union started on July 1.