European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her second State of the European Union speech. In addition to taking heart from the community project and its unity in the fight against the coronavirus, he also spoke about the challenges of the future such as microchip sovereignty, the fight against climate change and the need to increase international prominence.
“An ideal and a political soul to serve this ideal”, were the words with which Ursula von der Leyen made reference to Robert Schuman, founding father of the European project, with the aim of raising his chest about the current state of things in the European Union.
The leader of the Community Executive considers that the bloc has implemented plans in recent months, with unity by flag, in the face of challenges such as the pandemic and climate change.
This optimism was present in Von der Leyen’s speech on the State of the European Union this Wednesday, September 15, before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
“In the biggest global health crisis in a century, we decided to go together so that all parts of Europe could access life-saving vaccines. In the deepest global economic crisis in decades, we decided to go together with the recovery fund. And Faced with the most serious planetary crisis of all time, we decided to move forward together with the European Green Pact, “the president stressed.
In her address, the former German minister also highlighted the European political milestones of the past year – which ended with the arrival of summer – and valued the legislature that is beginning, the third since her presidency of the European Executive.
Success in vaccination against Covid-19
In August, the European Union managed to vaccinate 70% of its adult population. A number unthinkable for most of the world.
Ursula von der Leyen wanted to celebrate the data in her speech, countering the criticism of the past received at the beginning of the immunization campaign, and spoke triumphantly to a vaccine strategy “a la European”.
The German leader assured that thanks to the unit, the vaccines had been able to reach all corners of the European Union, and also assured that they were the only ones “who shared their vaccine production with the rest of the world.”
According to Von der Leyen, the European Union has kept the same number of vaccines that it has exported, which amounts to a total of 700 million doses for each case. Looking ahead, he also announced that 1.8 billion doses have already been secured to cover more initial and booster injections.
In addition, the leader announced a new donation of 200 million doses of vaccines by mid-2022, which will be added to the previous commitment of 250 million vials. “
Our first and most urgent priority is to accelerate global vaccination, “said Von der Leyen, who also proposed investing 50 billion euros by 2027 to improve preparedness and resistance to future pandemics.
However, in his speech he also expressed concern about the variations in vaccination rates within the European Union and warned: “Let’s do everything possible so that this does not become a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Shock plan for semiconductor self-sufficiency
The global shortage of microchips has affected trade and especially the European Union, which relies on manufacturing in Asia for both design and production.
To achieve sovereignty in the production of these semiconductors, Von der Leyen announced a plan to have a new manufacturing ecosystem that keeps Europe competitive and self-sufficient.
“We will present a new European chip law. The aim is to jointly create a next-generation European ecosystem, including production. This ensures our security of supply and will develop new markets for innovative European technology,” said the President of the European Commission.
In previous months, it had been announced that the European Union intended to invest a fifth of its recovery fund for Covid-19 of 750,000 million euros in digital projects.
However, among the obstacles is the difficulty of accessing minerals that are outside European territories, as well as the resistance of companies to make large investments if they cannot operate their plants at full capacity.
Increased investment in the fight against climate change
Along with digital transformation, the main axis for the coming years in Europe is that of the fight against climate change. In her State of Things speech, Ursula von der Leyen pledged € 4 billion in climate finance until 2027 for the poorest countries. A figure that is added to the 25,000 million that they already contribute annually.
However, he asked his partners for more help to achieve what was promised in 2009, when the amount of 100,000 million dollars was established for 2020. Unfulfilled objective before the November climate summit, the United Nations COP26.
“We hope that the United States and our partners will step up as well. This is vital, to close the climate finance gap together, the US and the European Union, it would be such a strong signal for global climate to lead the boat.” assured.
The search for a more leading role abroad
Lastly, Von der Leyen also devoted a great deal of intervention to action plans abroad. In his speech he said that they cannot depend only on “soft power”.
“Europe can and must be able and willing to do more for itself,” he said, and accused the “political will” of the lack of military leadership.
A few words that coincide with the first month since the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan. This situation, said the former German minister, raises worrying questions between the bloc countries and NATO.
At the beginning of the month, the European Union debated the creation of a reserve force of around 5,000 soldiers, something that is opposed by some of the bloc countries, who trust that these tasks will be carried out by NATO.
Von der Leyen proposed in his speech to eliminate the value added tax on weapons developed and sold in the bloc, establish a joint center to improve intelligence sharing and better defenses against cyber attacks.
“We are entering a new era of hyper-competitiveness, an era in which some stop at nothing to gain influence,” he warned.
In mid-2022, together with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, a summit on Defense is scheduled. It will be at the moment that the Gallic country assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union.
With ., AP and .