Germany takes over council presidency

On Wednesday, Germany took over the rotating presidency of the European Council from Croatia, setting the agenda for the next six months.

Guiding the EU through its recovery of the COVID-19 crisis will be the main priority, but there are also major dossiers which need to be completed by the end of 2020. Among these are the CAP post-2020 and the EU budget.

The Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies will also be developed further to interlink with the CAP. The German agriculture minister Julia Klöckner, has spoken about increasing appreciation for locally sourced food but avoiding consumer nationalism. Another of her priorities for agriculture is to develop a single animal welfare logo. More details of the German priorities are expected to emerge in the coming days.

Slaughterhouse COVID-19 outbreaks prompt response

Following outbreaks in several slaughterhouses in Germany over the last few weeks, the spotlight has turned to the treatment of workers in such facilities, the majority of whom come from Bulgaria and Romania to work in meat processing sites. Poor, cramped living conditions for immigrant workers have been identified as one of the reasons the virus has been able to spread so quickly. Temporary contracts and subcontracting are commonly used to employ workers on these sites, complicating the application of existing laws on protecting workers.

The German labour minister Hubertus Heil, has now said that he will use Germany’s EU council presidency to push for stricter enforcement of protections for migrant workers.

EU-UK discussions intensify

Discussions on the future of the EU-UK relationship are set to intensify from this week onwards, following the 30 June deadline for a transition period extension with no request made from the UK. Negotiating rounds resumed on Monday 29 June, throughout July, August and September with meetings nearly every week in person whenever possible.

As well as negotiating rounds, there will be more restricted meetings to ensure progress is taking place. This week is one such meeting, with specialised sessions taking place all week between Monday and Friday. The main issues still under discussion are fisheries, governance, judicial cooperation and policing, and a level playing field for trade.

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