The findings of a latest Eurobarometer survey, commissioned by the European Union itself, are clear: Residents within the bloc imagine that the primary points it must be addressing are local weather change, the COVID pandemic, well being care, the financial scenario and social inequality. These are thus the themes that European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen will broach in her second State of the Union deal with earlier than the European Parliament this coming Wednesday as she takes inventory of the achievements of the previous 12 months and publicizes new measures.
There are actually sufficient COVID-19 vaccines in Europe, however — as the autumn quickly approaches — the vaccination charge continues to be too low. The aim of making certain that 70% of adults have been vaccinated has been achieved, however this isn’t sufficient in view of the extremely contagious delta variant. Furthermore, vaccination charges range broadly amongst EU member states, from solely 20% in Bulgaria to virtually 90% in Malta.
The European Fee must work on this within the coming months, Well being Commissioner Stella Kyriakides informed DW. Von der Leyen has already launched a brand new EU company, the European Well being Emergency Response Authority (HERA), that may intention to raised anticipate and management epidemics in future. It is going to try to limit the present uncoordinated method wherein the 27 member states all apply totally different requirements and measures.
One direct consequence of the pandemic has been an unprecedented droop within the economic system, which Ursula von der Leyen plans to counter with an equally unprecedented reconstruction program. Rolling out the €750 billion ($886 billion) restoration fund, which shall be funded by joint debt for the primary time, would be the focus of EU financial coverage for some years to come back.
With a majority of EU residents claiming to have suffered financial losses because of the pandemic, expectations of the EU and this restoration program are excessive. Nevertheless it additionally carries dangers, as member states will incur extra debt and inflation will rise with greater demand. The talk about the right way to take care of this sharp enhance in debt in all member states has already begun.
Local weather change
The Fee needs a big a part of the cash from the restoration fund to go in the direction of “inexperienced” investments. The concept is that the EU’s “Inexperienced Deal” will flip Europe into the primary climate-neutral continent with out vital CO2 emissions by 2050. Ursula von der Leyen has been in a position to push by means of this formidable aim. Now, the duty is to implement the transition to renewables, electromobility and trendy digital jobs with an entire raft of legal guidelines and measures. It’s nonetheless unclear to what extent every member state must minimize dangerous gases and the way the targets shall be achieved.
Divisive forces throughout the EU are growing. An increasing number of, the Polish and Hungarian governments are resisting the makes an attempt of the Fee and European Court docket of Justice to stop the erosion of the rule of regulation of their nations.
Not all member states appear to have the identical notion of what constitutes European values and elementary rights. That is notably evident within the more and more homophobic insurance policies of Poland, Hungary and sure different newer member states.
The query of EU solidarity with regard to migration additionally stays unresolved. Throughout the bloc, societies are deeply divided by the right way to take care of migrants and asylum-seekers, a rising variety of whom are prone to be coming from Afghanistan in future.
The Fee has deserted all hope of a distribution mechanism and as a substitute is focusing extra on sealing exterior borders and stopping immigration. It stays to be seen what new proposals Ursula von der Leyen could make on this regard, however a minimum of she is going to have the ability to confer with the “Convention on the Way forward for Europe,” which is already underway with the participation of regular residents and is about to current its ends in spring 2022.
From the highest once more
Evaluating the problems this September with these mentioned final 12 months in Ursula von der Leyen’s first State of the Union speech, it could appear that they’re virtually equivalent and the issues are simply as large. However the Fee president will attempt to current the steps which have now been taken to determine a local weather coverage, create the restoration fund and promote the digitalization of the economic system as pathways to a greater future.
Her speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday morning shall be adopted by an intensive debate, kicking off the political season in each Strasbourg and Brussels after the summer time break. Nevertheless, there shall be no actual progress on laws till elections are over in Germany, the bloc’s largest member state, and a workable coalition authorities is in place.