The German Chancellor Angela Merkel got into an agreement with her counterparts in Slovenia and Portugal that the EU must focus on rebuilding the bloc economically and socially after the coronavirus or COVID-19 crisis in the coming 18 months when they each hold the rotating presidency.

"The trio's joint program focuses on the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and social rebuilding of Europe. The aim is to strengthen the EU's resilience to pandemic crises in the long term," the spokesman of Merkel, Steffen Seibert, mentioned in a statement following the video conference between the three.

COVID-19 Crisis

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Germany assumes the rotating presidency in July, followed by Portugal in January 2021 and Slovenia in July next year, and so they can help set some of the priorities for the bloc.

The leaders agreed that to tackle the social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe must quickly return to a path of growth, Seibert said. He added that the three heads of government agreed measures to combat climate change and digitalization must be at the forefront of recovery efforts.

(With agency inputs)