From its outset, the German Council Presidency was bound to be no walk in the park. And the last six months have indeed proven challenging and unpredictable, undergirded by the COVID-19 pandemic, accompanying short- and long-term consequences stemming from the health crisis and exceedingly high expectations that Berlin succeeds in tackling an ambitious program. In hindsight, the presidency fostered levels of unity and compromise unseen in recent years. Important agreements were brokered and all member states can feel that they came out “winners.” Yet this newfound impetus should be further built on as much is left to accomplish to usher in an EU fit for the future.
In this report, fourteen experts from nine Central and Eastern European countries evaluate the work of the German Council Presidency. They have identified some important achievements, especially related to the next multiannual financial framework and the recovery fund, but also some missed opportunities, including the stalled accession process for Albania and North Macedonia and foreign policy unsolved challenges.