Home Business Von der Leyen boasts of her achievements but remains silent on her second term – EURACTIV.com

Von der Leyen boasts of her achievements but remains silent on her second term – EURACTIV.com

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European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen delivers her annual State of the Union address on Wednesday (September 13), hoping she will focus on her achievements, but will not reveal whether she wishes a second term.

However, political maneuvering is already underway in the run-up to European elections in June next year, which will bring a shake-up at the top of the bloc’s governing institutions.

von der Leyen – a former German defense minister who has led the European Commission since 2019 – has already lost a few commissioners who had set their sights on political posts elsewhere before the curtain fell.

But she herself is well placed if she seeks a new five-year term.

During her current term, she has guided the EU through the storms of Brexit, the Covid pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine which disrupted energy supplies, while ensuring a move towards a carbon neutral future and by controlling the excesses of the big technology market. .

Face of the EU

His performance was praised by most of the bloc’s 27 member countries. International partners such as the United States also see it as the face of European governance – the number they can call in Brussels.

Von der Leyen did not reveal anything about the content of his State of the Union speech which will be delivered to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

But EU officials and observers say the focus is likely to be more on policy successes than future affairs that extend beyond his mandate.

Yet ears will perk up at the slightest mention of the bloc’s enlargement to eastern candidate countries – including Ukraine – and the internal reforms the EU will need to achieve this.

The Commission will soon present its recommendations on the opening of accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. Five Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – also want to participate, and Turkey has revived its efforts to advance its candidacy.

European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs EU summits, adopted a position calling for the European Union to welcome new members “by 2030”.

When it comes to the EU Green Deal, von der Leyen can boast of leading the bloc to adopt ambitious targets.

But 37 other bills must still be voted on, including a text on the restoration of nature and another on heavy goods vehicle emissions.

They have faced headwinds from von der Leyen’s own conservative political family, the European People’s Party, which has a pro-business stance.

Some EU countries have also called for a “pause” on green legislation, complaining that it increases the burden faced by farmers and businesses at a time of economic fragility and the rise of extreme political groups. right capitalizing on euroscepticism.

Urged not to “give in”

Manfred Weber, leader of the EPP in the European Parliament and a fellow German who lost to von der Leyen in the European Commission job decision, said on Tuesday that economic issues were his party’s “priorities”.

On the left of Parliament, Iratxe Garcia Perez, head of the Socialists and Democrats group, called on von der Leyen not to “give in at all” on policies to combat climate change.

Migration is another thorny issue for von der Leyen, with several countries, including Greece, Italy, Poland and Hungary, pushing for tougher approaches as asylum applications rise.

Von der Leyen signed a pact with Tunisia called a “strategic partnership” in July aimed at reducing the number of irregular migrants leaving that country by boat in hopes of traveling to Europe.

She called this agreement – ​​which echoes the one already concluded with Turkey in 2016 – a model for other agreements to be concluded in the region.

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