President von der Leyen pledged that the Commission will drive a sustainable and transformational recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that will give the EU a global platform that will give the EU a global platform to lead economically, environmentally and geopolitically. According to the Commission’s President, Next Generation EU represents a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to make change happen by design and to enable the EU to become green, digital and more resilient. In particular, President von der Leyen stressed the following goals as the priorities of the Commission for the upcoming months:

(1) Protecting the health of citizens in Europe

The President called for lessons to be learned, saying Europe must build a stronger European health union, with a future-proof and properly funded EU4Health programme, a reinforced European Medicines Agency (EMA) and a strengthened European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). She also pledged to build a European agency for biomedical advanced research and development (BARDA) to enhance Europe’s capacity to respond to cross-border threats. The President further 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.

(2) Protecting the stability of the EU’s economy and making the most of the single market

President von der Leyen stressed the importance of reinforcing Europe’s social market economy and of protecting workers and businesses from external shocks. She promised to put forward a legal framework for setting minimum wages. The President pledged action to boost the single market, reinforce the Economic and Social Union, get the Schengen area working in full again, update the EU’s industry strategy and adapt its competition framework.

(3) Reinforcing the European Green Deal and raising its ambitions

President von der Leyen announced that the Commission is proposing to increase the 2030 target for emissions reduction from 40% to 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.

The President further announced that 30% of the Next Generation EU budget will be raised through green bonds, and that 37%  of the funding will be invested in European Green Deal objectives, including ‘lighthouse’ European projects – hydrogen, green building and one million electric charging points.

(4) Leading the digital transformation, particularly on data, technology and infrastructure

In this area, President von der Leyen called for a common plan for digital Europe with clearly defined goals for 2030, such as for connectivity, skills and digital public services. She further announced that the EU will invest 20% of Next Generation EU’s budget on digital.

(5) Responding more assertively to global events and deepening the EU’s relations with its closest neighbours and global partners

The President called for the revitalisation and reform of the multilateral system, including the UN, WTO and WHO. She affirmed that the EU is ready to build a new transatlantic agenda with the United States and to reach a deal with the UK, provided it honours the Withdrawal Agreement, ‘a matter of law, trust and good faith’ on which the EU ‘will never backtrack’The President pledged an economic recovery package for the Western Balkans and highlighted the importance of Europe’s relationship with Africa.

President von der Leyen further announced that the Commission will put forward a European Magnitsky act and urged Member States to embrace qualified majority voting on external relations, at least regarding human rights and sanctions implementation.

Finally, she expressed her commitment to use Europe’s diplomatic strength and economic clout to broker agreements that make a difference on ethical, human rights and environmental issues. She made clear that the EU wants a global agreement on digital taxation, but also that it will go it alone if that cannot be achieved.

(6) Taking a new approach to migration, remaining vigilant on the rule of law, and reinforcing the fight against racism and discrimination

Turning to migration, President von der Leyen announced 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’.

Concerning compliance with the rule of law, she confirmed that the Commission is adopting its first annual Rule of Law report covering all Member States by the end of September. She also pledged to ensure that EU funds are spent under rule of law safeguards.  

In her State of the Union speech today, President von der Leyen further announced the Commission’s plans to present an European anti-racism action plan, to strengthen racial equality laws, and to 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 and it will put forward a strategy to strengthen LGBTQI rights and will push for mutual recognition of family relations in the EU.


A European Green Deal

• Legislative proposal on revision of the EU emission trading system (ETS)

• Legislative proposal on the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism

Fit for 55 Package (Climate and energy)

• Effort-Sharing Regulation

• Revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Directive on Energy Performance of Buildings

• Revision of the Regulation on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

• Legislative proposal to address methane emissions in the energy sector, revision of the regulatory framework for competitive decarbonised gas markets and revision of the Energy Taxation Directive

• Revision of the Directive on Intelligent Transport Systems and the Directive on Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure

• Revision of the Regulation setting CO2 emission performance standards for cars and light commercial vehicles and legislative proposal on development of post-Euro6/VI emission standards for cars, vans, lorries and buses.

Legislative proposal for a sustainable product policy initiative

A Europe fit for the digital age

• Communication on Europe’s Digital Decade: 2030 Digital Targets

• Legislative proposal for a Data Act

• Legislative proposal for a digital levy

• Legislative proposal for a trusted and secure European e-ID

• Initiative on improving the working conditions of platform workers

• Communication on updating the new industrial strategy for Europe

• Review of the competition policy

• Legislative proposal on levelling the playing field for foreign subsidies

• Action plan on synergies between civil, defence and space industries

An economy that works for people

• Legislative proposal on an investment protection and facilitation framework

• Revision of the prudential rules for insurance and reinsurance companies (Solvency II)

• Revision of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Regulation

• Legislative proposal on sustainable corporate governance

• Establishment of an EU Green Bond Standard

• Proposal for a legislative package on anti-money laundering

• Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights, European Child Guarantee, New Occupational Safety and Health Strategy, Action Plan for the Social Economy

• Towards the future Generalised Scheme of Preferences legal framework granting trade advantages to developing countries

• Instrument to deter and counteract coercive actions by third countries

A stronger Europe in the world

• Joint communication on strengthening the EU’s contribution to rules-based multilateralism

• Joint communication on the Arctic and northern dimension policy

• Joint communication on a renewed partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood

• Joint communication on a strategic approach to support the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants

Promoting our European way of life

• Legislative proposal to establish a new European Biomedical Research and Development Agency

• Legislative proposal to extend the mandate of the European Medicines Agency

• Legislative proposal to extend the mandate of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

• Legislative proposal on European health data space

• Follow up initiatives under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum

• Strategy on the future of Schengen

• Communications on an EU agenda to tackle organised crime and on counter-terrorism

A new push for European democracy

• Strategy on the rights of the child

• Legislative proposal to prevent and combat specific forms of gender-based violence

• Proposals to extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech

• Legislative proposal on the digitalisation of cross-border judicial cooperation

• Revision of the Regulation on the Statute and Funding of the European Political Parties and European Political Foundations

• Communication on a long-term vision for rural areas

Add new comment