President von der Leyen's State of the Union Address: main highlights

16-09-2020
President von der Leyen's State of the Union Address
President von der Leyen's State of the Union Address
Copyright: European Commission

On 16 September, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged that the European Commission will drive a sustainable and transformational recovery that will give Europe a global platform to lead economically, environmentally and geopolitically.

The response to coronavirus

The President pledged to build a European BARDA – agency for biomedical advanced research and development – to enhance Europe's capacity to respond to cross-border threats. The President called for a debate on new competences for the EU in the field of health, as part of the forthcoming Conference on the Future of Europe.

European Green Deal

The President revealed that the European Commission is proposing to increase the 2030 target for emissions reduction from 40% to at least 55%. This will put the EU on track for climate neutrality by 2050 and for meeting its Paris Agreement obligations. The Carbon Border Adjustment mechanism will help ensure others will follow Europe's lead.  By next summer the Commission will revise all of the EU's climate and energy legislation to make it ‘fit for 55'. 

A New Pact on Migration

The President revealed that next week the Commission will put forward its New Pact on Migration, with an approach based on humanity, solidarity and a “clear distinction between those who have the right to stay and those who do not”. She promised that the Commission will “step up and take responsibility” for dealing with the situation after the Moria fire, but: “if we step up, then I expect the Member States to step up…Migration is a European challenge and all of Europe must do its part.”

Anti-racism and tackling hate crime and discrimination

President von der Leyen announced that the Commission will present a European anti-racism action plan, strengthen racial equality laws and extend the list of EU-level crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech, whether based on race, religion gender or sexuality. The Commission will also appoint its first ever anti-racism coordinator. It will put forward a strategy to strengthen LGBTQI rights and will push for mutual recognition of family relations in the EU.

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