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A “new reality” for Europe: Von der Leyen is self-critical – and is already thinking about the next crisis

2022-09-14T13:03:18.394Z

A “new reality” for Europe: Von der Leyen is self-critical – and is already thinking about the next crisis Created: 09/14/2022, 14:51 By: Anna-Katharina Ahnefeld EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives her third State of the Union speech and announces new measures in the energy crisis. © Frederick Florin/afp In her third State of the Union speech, Ursula von der Leyen makes far-reac



A “new reality” for Europe: Von der Leyen is self-critical – and is already thinking about the next crisis

Created: 09/14/2022, 14:51

By: Anna-Katharina Ahnefeld

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives her third State of the Union speech and announces new measures in the energy crisis.

© Frederick Florin/afp

In her third State of the Union speech, Ursula von der Leyen makes far-reaching announcements about the energy crisis.

She addresses emotional words to the present Olena Selenska.

Strasbourg - Early morning in Strasbourg: The immediate vicinity of the seat of the European Parliament in France gives little indication that this Wednesday is a special day.

A cat sits on a windowsill, squinting in the sparse early autumn sun.

Somewhere a rooster crows, small apartment buildings lie peacefully in the proverbial shadow of the parliament building.

However, there was already a premonition on the 30-minute walk from the center of Strasbourg to the EU Parliament;

it is a beautiful path that runs along the river Ill.

The Danish Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner for Competition, dressed in the national colors of Ukraine, is hurrying towards the parliament here.

A little later she will be standing in the plenary hall next to Ursula von der Leyen and Olena Selenska, the wife of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj and guest of honor of the day.

Shortly before, Selenska had met the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola.

The September plenary week in Strasbourg is dominated by the Russian invasion war in Ukraine, the energy crisis in Europe and the global impact of the climate crisis.

Ursula von der Leyen's sometimes emotional State of the Union speech also focuses on these issues.

To applause, the head of the EU Commission first thanked Olena Selenska and her husband for their tireless efforts.

Courage has found a name and this is the name of Ukraine, she says, conjuring up Ukrainian heroism with a touch of pathos.

Then the Commission President becomes more specific: on Wednesday she will travel to Kyiv to meet President Selenskyj.

She uses her speech to prepare Europeans for challenging months and to announce a legislative proposal on the occasion of the energy crisis.

In doing so, it also brings back the skimming of excess profits from certain energy companies into play.

Ursula von der Leyen: State of the Union speech – sanctions against Russia remain in place

On this day, Ursula von der Leyen is wearing the colors of Ukraine – it is also the Ukraine war that will dominate the speech by the head of the commission.

Von der Leyen begins by debating the state of the Union for the first time while war is raging in Europe.

Europe is experiencing a conflict between autocracy and democracy, a lot is at stake.

"This is a war on our energy supply, a war on our economy, a war on our values ​​and a war on our future," says von der Leyen.

Nevertheless, she is convinced that democracy will triumph over autocracy.

In her speech, she also admits her own mistakes in dealing with Russia: "We should have listened to the warning calls within the Union," says the head of the commission, referring to Poland and the Baltic countries.

Appropriately, von der Leyen announces that the sanctions against Russia will be permanent.

"This is the price for Russia and Putin's path of destruction and death." Moscow itself bears responsibility for the fact that the Russian economy is suffering greatly.

Her trip to Kyiv will now focus on how Ukraine can gain access to the European Union's internal market.

In addition, she promised Ukraine emergency aid of 100 million euros to rebuild the schools.

She will work closely with Olena Selenska.

It is also schoolchildren in Ukraine who lead von der Leyen to one of the most emotional sentences of her speech: "Imagine that, you take your child to school in the morning and don't know if you will see them again in the evening." You herself raised seven children.

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Europe has stood by Ukraine since the outbreak of war and will continue to do so, emphasizes the head of the commission.

So far, more than 19 billion euros in financial support have flowed to Ukraine, not including military aid.

One can currently see how Russia is actively sabotaging Europe's energy market.

Europe must adapt to a new reality.

Apparently, this new reality is also leading the head of the Commission to announce measures that would have been unthinkable until recently.

For example, that companies that do not produce electricity from gas give up part of their profits.

To relieve consumers, von der Leyen proposed a law to cap high energy prices and skim off excess profits.

"Our proposal will bring more than 140 billion euros for the member states to cushion the emergency immediately," says von der Leyen. 

Von der Leyen's "State of the Union Address": "Europe will prevail"

Europe is facing a major change in the future in the field of renewable energies.

Also in view of the climate crisis, said the EU politician, referring to the devastating forest fires this summer.

Massive investments are already being made in wind energy on the North and Baltic Seas, and Germany will be dedicating itself to the production of green hydrogen.

She also emphasizes that it was a mistake to rely on fossil fuels for so long.

Another mistake of this magnitude must be prevented, says von der Leyen - with a view to China.

Europe needs new reliable partnerships for raw materials and lithium to avoid dependence on China.

The EU also needs reliable partnerships in foreign policy in order to protect and expand democracy.

She said to Ukraine, Georgia and the Western Balkans: "The Union is not complete without you."

It is the third State of the Union speech by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

This is based on the tradition of the "State of the Union Address", the annual speech by incumbent US Presidents.

In the afternoon, the EU Commission was supposed to present the plans for the energy market.

Von der Leyen should then already be on his way to Kyiv.

It is her third trip to Ukraine since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war.

She is bringing with her the conviction, reiterated at the State of the Union address, that "Putin will fail and Ukraine and Europe will prevail".

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2022-09-14

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