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If Merkel can steer the EU through the next six months her legacy is assured

Andrew Hammond


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Allies: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday. Photo: Rainer Keuenhof - Pool/Getty Images

Allies: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday. Photo: Rainer Keuenhof - Pool/Getty Images

Getty Images

Allies: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday. Photo: Rainer Keuenhof - Pool/Getty Images

Presidents and prime ministers from the EU 27 convene for their first face-to-face summit today and tomorrow since the coronavirus crisis began. The session is the first major test of the new leadership in Brussels to get big political deals over the line, yet is also a legacy-building moment for German Chancellor Angela Merkel in particular.

This is because Germany assumed the six-month presidency of the EU on July 1, in what is the twilight of Merkel's long period in power. She views the half-year between now and Christmas as one of the last big moments for her to cap off what has been a remarkable era in office.

And she particularly wants to secure a European recovery fund to respond to the coronavirus crisis, a new EU long-term budget for the 2020s, and a post-Brexit UK-EU trade deal.