Bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Today, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo had a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will also chair the European Council until the end of the year. Prime Minister De Croo and Chancellor Merkel had detailed discussions about the COVID situation in Europe but also about Brexit and the cooperation between Belgium and Germany in the field of energy. Originally, a physical meeting was planned, but because of the epidemiological situation in Europe, the discussion took place online.
Germany is Belgium's most important trading partner by far. Mutual investments account for more than 120,000 direct jobs in both countries. "In addition to a few one-off bilateral topics, such as the launch of the Alegro interconnector today, the main topic was our common European agenda. Belgium and Germany very often find each other in "the middle". A pragmatic, but clearly pro-European line is what binds us together".
Prime Minister De Croo and Chancellor Merkel stressed the importance of sufficient European cooperation on COVID-19 to curb the new wave of infections.
Alexander De Croo said: "With the European Council, we have decided to discuss the approach of COVID-19 on a regular basis. The second video conference is scheduled for next Thursday. It is good that we, as European heads of government, are exchanging experiences. At the end of the day, we are all fighting the same virus. We must now ensure that this exchange of good practice also leads to operational results. Certainly, in the area of European coordination of testing strategies, with clear agreements on the use and recognition of anti-testing and the compatibility of the national corona apps, European cooperation can prove its added value.”
The common interests regarding Brexit were also addressed.
Alexander De Croo: "Like Germany, Belgium is a strong export country. We want to maintain a close trade link with the United Kingdom, but not at all costs. We will use our European unity as a lever to obtain a level economic playing field from the British Government. Our European businesses must be able to compete on the basis of fair rules that apply to all.”
Belgium and Germany also share the same strategic vision on climate targets and the economic challenges that go with them.
Alexander De Croo: "Economics and ecology go hand in hand. They just reinforce each other. If we want a carbon neutral economy by 2050 and want to phase out nuclear power, we have to focus on innovation. That means investing in new technologies such as hydrogen, in addition to renewable energy. The development of this new sustainable energy infrastructure will also create a lot of new jobs.”
"Europe must achieve this energy transition together. This is the only way to maximise the positive effects. In fact, Germany, like Belgium, wants the private industry to be heavily involved in deciding on these new investments.”