The EU Commission’s plans to put Europe back on its feet after the COVID pandemic
In the coming year the European Union will place more focus on the health of citizens and economic growth. In delivering her ‘State of the Union’ speech EU Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen also announced a new pact on immigration.
Making her first such speech in this role Von Der Leyen listed her Commission’s plans to regenerate the EU back on its feet following the COVID pandemic.
From the medical aspect she said to meet the existing pandemic threats to current medical systems and to increase potential, the EU will establish an new agency for research and biomedic development.
”This new agency will support our capacity and readiness to respond to cross-border threats and emergencies – whether of natural or deliberate origin. We need strategic stockpiling to address supply chain dependencies, notably for pharmaceutical products.”
The Commission President announced what she termed to be a ‘Green New Deal’, a strategy aimed at decreasing air pollution around Europe from 55% to 40% by the year 2030 while more economic initiatives will be taken to safeguard the environment.
”Our impact assessment clearly shows that meeting this target would put the EU firmly on track for climate neutrality by 2050 and for meeting our Paris Agreement obligations. And if others follow our lead, the world will be able to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
Regarding Mediterranean immigration she said that if all make compromises agreement can be attained and in the coming week the Commission will forward a new pact on immigration.
”Saving lives at sea is not optional. And those countries who fulfil their legal and moral duties or are more exposed than others, must be able to rely on the solidarity of our whole European Union. We will ensure a closer link between asylum and return.”
The Heads of the Labour Party and Nationalist Party delegations in the EU Parliament, Miriam Dalli and Roberta Metsola welcomed the speech and said they looked to greater European solidarity.
Commissioner Helena Dalli said she had expected the Commission President to be stronger on immigration matters. She said yesterday’s solutions are not working and new solutions are needed to really make sure the challenges are being met.
MEP Roberta Metsola said this was a message full of hope and made her proud to be Maltese as well as European because she is part of a group of countries that are looking forward that after the difficulties of the current year we will be able to recover.
Different to past years, President von der Leyen delivered her address to the EU Parliament in Brussels rather than in Strasbourg because of the pandemic.