Wednesday (May 27th): Von der Leyen for the save!

Ursula von der Leyen

Name? Ursula von der Leyen

Westphalian identity? European (self-proclaimed)

Age? 61

Why is she in the news? She just announced that the European Union will add 750 billion Euros to the already agreed 500 billion Euros for the European Corona response. While the initial 500 billion Euros are credits to be repaid, these 750 billion Euros will add 250 billion Euros in credits and 500 billion Euros direct investments coming from the European budget. 

Why do we care? Leaving aside the fact that this is just a proposal that the EU27 still have to agree to, this is a sign that the initial ‘everybody for themselves’ approach inside the EU is yielding to an actual European response. 

Why should you care? There is a lot of money on the table, you are young, you will pay for this at some point. (Or do we do it the way our parents solve everything and just load all the debt onto our children?)

Who else cares? Angela Merkel. Not only did she instal von der Leyen together with Macron, but she is also taking over the next EU Council presidency from July until January. She is entering her final year as Germany’s chancellor and this final year will be the year history will measure her forever. 

Any further comments? As we analysed last week when Merkel and Macron announced a 500 billion Euro relief package for the EU, the main challenge for Von der Leyen, Macron and Merkel will be to convince Sweden, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands. However, with Germany no longer blocking huge European investments (as of now, let’s see what challenges Merkel will face at home), this seems more likely than it did two months ago during the Eurobond-Saga.

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator