Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts French President Emmanuel Macron for talks on Monday, days before Germany takes on the rotating presidency of the European Union with the economy in the throes of the most severe storm since World War II.
Berlin's chairing of the 26-member bloc will be its last with Merkel in charge, and could be the one that defines the legacy of the leader dubbed the "eternal chancellor".
With the future of the bloc's relationship with Britain to be determined, a crucial shift to a lower carbon world in the balance and crises from Libya to Syria all jostling for attention, there is no shortage of burning issues to tackle.
But the COVID0-19 pandemic and the economic devastation it has wrought have become a bull in the painstakingly arranged EU china shop.
"This crisis that we're currently experiencing is different compared to any other we have experienced since the founding of Europe," Merkel, in power since 2005, told parliament in an address laying out priorities for the EU presidency.
"Alone in Europe, it has claimed more than 100,000 lives. A few weeks of economic standstill was enough to endanger what we have built up over years."
With all to play for, member states are anxiously looking to Europe's biggest economy to take charge.
In an interview published Saturday, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said it was "very fortunate that Germany is taking over the presidency at this time of a major crisis."
Merkel's long experience and credibility "helps enormously," she told the Handelsblatt newspaper.
So high are the expectations that Germany's EU ambassador Michael Clauss said in jest they are making him "sleep badly, because I think the expectations are already a bit overstretched."
"We have to act as honest brokers, otherwise we won't have the support of the council."Agence France-Presse
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Paris on Thursday, a day after Berlin offered a glimmer of hope that an agreement could be reached to avoid a chaotic “no deal” Brexit.
The 28 EU leaders are trying to agree on who will steer the bloc over the coming years through the looming challenges of Brexit and the rise of populist parties in Europe.
European Union leaders meet in Brussels on Tuesday for the third straight day of talks aimed at defusing fresh power struggles in a bid to fill the bloc’s top jobs. The 28 EU leaders who will meet from 11am (0900 GMT)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi has received Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, at the Presidential Palace in Cairo.
This year’s celebration witnessed the participation of a group of diplomatic, economic and social figures, as well as a number of businessmen, entrepreneurs and Filipino families residing in the country.
Sheikh Hamdan said that the priority of Sheikh Mohammed is to provide the best quality of life for our citizens, the best environment to raise our families, and the best economic opportunities for our youth.