State of the Union 2021
Strengthening Europe’s soul
On September 15, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, delivered her second State of the Union address to Members of the European Parliament.
The Commission President put the focus of her speech on Europe’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis and on what the European Union needs to do for a lasting recovery delivering benefits to all - from health preparedness, the social dimension, technological leadership, to a defence union.
President von der Leyen described how Europe can secure a lasting recovery by preparing itself to deal with future health crises, thanks to the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA), by helping the world get vaccinated, and by making sure that the economic recovery is sustained and benefits everyone.
The President also proposed underlined the importance of staying true to European values and made a point of Europe’s duty to care for the most vulnerable, standing up for media freedom, reinforcing the rule of law in the European Union and empowering youth. She also proposed making 2022 the Year of European Youth.
With reference to the European Union’s role in the world, the Commission President committed to continue working to encourage global partners to act on climate change. Furthermore, in the face of the recent developments in Afghanistan, the President announced increased humanitarian aid to Afghans and laid out the importance for Europe to build its own defence capabilities.
The following are the main flagship initiatives which the Commission plans to undertake in the coming year:
- Continuing the vaccination efforts in Europe and speeding up vaccination globally, as well as strengthening the pandemic preparedness
- Ensuring fairer working conditions and better healthcare, and creating more opportunities for Europe’s youth to benefit from the European social market economy
- Working on closing the climate finance gap, together with global partners
- Leading the digital transformation that will create jobs and drive competitiveness, while ensuring technical excellence and security of supply
- Stepping up cooperation on security and defence, and deepening EU’s partnership with closest allies
- Defending European values and freedoms, and protecting the rule of law
The speech is available online here in all EU languages.
Dedicated website of the State of the Union