Saturday

29th Apr 2017

Merkel wants EU to focus on jobs and security

  • Merkel (c) is trying to bridge the gaps over the EU's future (Photo: g20.org)

The Bratislava summit of the 27 EU leaders on 16 September should focus on job creation for the young and reinforcing security in Europe, German chancellor Angela Merkel said on her diplomatic tour to lay the groundwork for the meeting.

Speaking in Prague on Thursday (25 August), Merkel said: "The Bratislava summit will accent ways that we can improve economic power, create more jobs for young people and how to boost internal and border security.”

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She added: “I think we can overcome Britain’s decision [to leave]. But we have to work hard to do that.”

At the summit, leaders are expected to chart out the future direction for the EU after Britain’s shock decision to leave the bloc.

The German chancellor is meeting with 12 EU leaders in the next two days on a post-Brexit tour to find a compromise between those who want deeper European integration and those, particularly in eastern and central Europe, where governments support taking some powers back to the national level.

Merkel met with her Estonian counterpart in Tallinn on Thursday, then travelled to Prague to meet PM Bohuslav Sobotka.

One area of further cooperation could be defence and intelligence, which could eventually lead to the establishment of a European army - an area where even the eurosceptic Czech Republic has showed willingness to cooperate.

Sobotka said on Thursday that more European security and defence cooperation, in addition to Nato, was a priority given the need to protect external borders of the EU and to respond to growing security threats, for instance from the Middle East.

'Selfish' policies?

Merkel faces tough talks in Poland on Friday, where she is meeting with the leaders of the Visegrad countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

Migration policy will top the agenda. Some in the Visegrad group think that Germany pushed too hard for the mandatory refugee relocation scheme without taking into consideration the national sensibilities of member states.

Ahead of her visit in Warsaw on Friday, Poland’s foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski criticised German foreign policy as being too “selfish”, citing the examples of migration policy, and the plan to build a new gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany, bypassing Poland.

"There are diverging views on how to distribute migrants across the EU, but on many other issues opinions converge," Merkel said in Prague.

“All families occasionally need phases in which they think about where they go from here,” she added, referring to the EU as a family.

Several hundred protesters rallied in the Czech capital on Thursday against Merkel and her decision a year ago to open the country’s doors to asylum seekers.

A leading figure of Germany's anti-Islamic and anti-immigrant Pegida movement, Tatiana Festerling, was also present for the demonstration, according to the AFP news agency.

In a sign of the anger in some parts of society, Czech police said they arrested a man for attempting to drive his black Mercedes into Merkel's motorcade in Prague as she travelled from the airport to government headquarters.

Later on Friday, Merkel will meet in Germany with a mostly nordic group that includes the prime ministers of Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, as well as the Netherlands.

She will, the same day, also host separate talks with leaders from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia.

The tour is part of her new attempt to be seen as a “listener” and to dispel the image of Berlin trying to impose policies on the rest of the bloc.

But countries in southern Europe are also planning to bind together on a joint proposal to have more clout at the Bratislava summit.

Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras has called for a southern Europe meeting before the event, with French president Francois Hollande having already indicated that he would participate.

Tusk and Merkel discuss post-Brexit EU

EU Council president Tusk will meet chancellor Merkel at a castle retreat in Germany on Thursday as part of preparations for the Brexit summit in Bratislava.

Under-fire Merkel defends migration policy

The German chancellor sticks by her welcoming policy towards migrants, while a poll suggests more than 50 percent of Germans do not want her to stand for a fourth term in office.

EU boasts unity on Brexit talks

EU leaders adopted the bloc's guidelines for the UK exit negotiations that will start in June, amid concerns that France could elect a president that would try to take it out of the EU.

Column / Brexit Briefing

May’s election juggernaut

The prime minister's Tories almost need not bother campaigning for the June election. There is no opposition worthy of the name.

News in Brief

  1. Vote of no confidence prepared against Spanish PM
  2. Syria to buy Russian anti-missile system
  3. Germany seeks partial burka ban
  4. Libya has no plan to stop migration flows
  5. EU has no evidence of NGO-smuggler collusion in Libya
  6. Poland gets 'final warning' on logging in ancient forest
  7. Commission gives Italy final warning on air pollution
  8. Romania and Slovenia taken to court over environment policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCharlotte Hornets' Nicolas Batum Tells Kids to "Eat Well, Drink Well, Move!"
  2. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  3. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act on Climate Change
  4. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  5. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  7. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  8. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  9. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  10. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  11. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  12. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process