German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas waits for the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin. File/Reuters
The coronavirus outbreak will dominate the agenda of the European Union when Germany takes over the rotating council presidency in the second half of this year, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote in an opinion article.
Maas has been outspoken about the global handling of the crisis, criticizing the US for being slow and China as authoritarian. The pandemic has spread to 214 countries, with 1.6 million infections and 106,000 deaths.
"We will make it a 'corona presidency' to overcome corona and its consequences," he wrote in the piece, published in Die Welt newspaper on Sunday. Germany assumes the chair on July 1 from Croatia.
A gradual and coordinated reduction on travel curbs will be one of the first tasks "once we are out of the woods," he wrote.
And the bloc will also need to draw lessons from the crisis, such as improving EU civil protection and the joint procurement and production of medical supplies, he said.
There is also a need to "correct the mistakes" the crisis has exposed, he wrote, pointing to restrictions on democracy and the rule of law "under the guise of fighting corona, which are unacceptable in Europe".
The US was wholly unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic.
The string of weapons drills come as a prolonged hiatus in disarmament talks with the United States drags on, and despite recent overtures from Washington offering help to contain the pandemic.
More than half of all US novel coronavirus deaths so far have struck in King County, which encompasses the city of Seattle. The region has suffered 43 fatalities.
India has amended a law in Jammu and Kashmir allowing Indian citizens to buy land in the disputed territory, said officials, sparking opposition criticism about a steady erosion of the rights of Kashmiri people.
Two people were reported killed and 26 others missing as Typhoon Molave hit central Vietnam on Wednesday, knocking down trees and tearing roofs off homes in some of the worst destruction seen in years.
A senior Chinese official accused the United States on Wednesday of deflecting blame and breaking its word when it comes to fighting climate change, as the simmering diplomatic row between the world's two biggest economies shifts to the environment.
The UAE has strongly condemned the terrorist attack, killing at least eight students and wounding 136 others. It took place on Tuesday in a religious school in the city of Peshawar, northern Pakistan, which claimed the lives of a number of innocent civilians, including children, and wounded others.