On Wednesday 15th September, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg in her annual State of the Union speech. This speech aims at discussing with MEPs what the Commission has done over the past year, and what are the challenges ahead.The Commission's objectives stated last year are still relevant today as the main focus remains: the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Green Deal and digital strategy.
The focus of the debate certainly revolved around the management of the pandemic by the EU but, put the emphasis on what lies ahead and what the priorities are: safeguarding a future for the youth in terms of the environment, education, professional experiences and social activities. Thus, the year 2022 has been declared to be one of European youth, focused on shaping the next generation.
President von der Leyen insisted on the courage and determination of young European people, illustrated by the presence of Paralympic gold medalist Beatrice Vio. Her appearance meant to represent the spirit of Europe's next generation: change our perception of the possible and be who you decide to be. Chair of the European People's Party (EPP) Manfred Weber also mentioned that the Olympic Motto "faster, higher, stronger" should guide efforts in other policy fields. Especially with regard to environmental sustainability, visions and targets could be more ambitious, holistic and expressing the European Union's aspirations for a greener future.