Angela Merkel in Warsaw

"Let's concentrate on what will move us forward"

In Warsaw Chancellor Angela Merkel has met with the Prime Ministers of the Visegrád states. She thanked them for the talks. In the run-up to the EU summit meeting in Bratislava, she said it is important to listen to one another "in a variety of different formats".

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka
The Chancellor at the Visegrád Group meeting in Warsaw Photo Bundesregierung/Bergmann

"The people of Europe will only accept Europe if it pledges to bring them prosperity," said Chancellor Angela Merkel in Warsaw. And it is becoming clear that Europe has the ambition, "not merely to exist somewhere in the world, but to be up there with the leaders".

In terms of technological development and well paid jobs "we still have a lot of work ahead of us", said Angela Merkel. "And that is why we must think today about the areas in which we want to step up our efforts." The digital single market must be expanded and progress made. "And we must consider how we can regain the enthusiasm of our young people, who are our future, for Europe."

Listening to one another – what makes Europe special

In Poland the Chancellor first met with the host, Prime Minister Beata Szydło, for bilateral talks. She then met for lunch with the Prime Minsters of the Visegrád states: Beata Szydło, Hungarian Prime Minster Viktor Orban, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico. The Chancellor thus continued her preparatory talks in the run-up to the EU summit meeting in Bratislava. She had already attended talks in Berlin, Ventotene, Tallinn and Prague.

It is important, she said, to listen to one another "in a variety of different formats". That is why she was happy to meet and engage in discussions with her counterparts, she said at a press conference at the start of the meeting. She is happy that the summit meeting of the 27 remaining EU members is to take place in Bratislava. Brussels, as a venue, would have been "too far removed from everyday life" and from the feeling "of what makes Europe special".

The Chancellor has a number of meetings lined up before the Bratislava summit: 18 August – meeting with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk; 24/25 August - Tallinn und Prague; 26 August – meeting in Warsaw; 26 August meeting in Meseberg with the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Denmark; 27 August meeting in Meseberg with the Austrian Chancellor and the Prime Ministers of Slovenia, Bulgaria and Croatia.

Facing up to Europe’s challenges

The Chancellor considers it important to talk to a large number of the actors involved in advance of the Bratislava summit. She would like to help ensure that the outcomes of the process of reflection are as widely accepted as possible in the member states and among their people. The substantial focus will include strengthening internal and external security, boosting the EU’s competitiveness and innovative force, and ensuring genuine prospects for young people in Europe.

As Angela Merkel said in Tallinn, it is a good idea to "listen to as many people as possible in the EU" in the wake of the British Brexit vote. She also spoke of a "phase of listening, understanding, and learning from one another in order to properly understand and develop the naturally new balance within the 27-member Union".

Building the 27-member EU together

It is now a question of building the work of the future 27-member EU together, calmly and sensibly. Bratislava will not be a summit meeting for decisions, but "a summit meeting that sets an agenda, on the basis of which we then deliver the results month by month that we have undertaken to achieve".

On Monday, on the aircraft carrier Garibaldi off the Italian island of Ventotene, Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, French President François Hollande and the Chancellor looked back at the roots of the European Union. In the 21st century, the aim must be to assure the people that Europe is safe and secure, while still upholding European values, said Angela Merkel.



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