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Ahead of elections, Von der Leyen positions herself as advocate for EU business

ByEditor

Sep 13, 2023

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament on September 13, 2023. During her speech, she defended her track record as the head of the EU executive and announced an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese electric vehicles. Von der Leyen positioned herself as a champion of European business and emphasized Europe’s commitment to supporting Ukraine and promoting green energy. She pledged to protect European businesses against unfair competition and announced the launch of the investigation into electric vehicles from China.

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, von der Leyen stressed that Europe would do whatever it takes to maintain its competitive edge. She declared that the Commission would not engage in a race to the bottom and would open itself to competition but not at the expense of European businesses. Von der Leyen further stated that the Commission would appoint an envoy to assist small and medium-sized enterprises in navigating bureaucratic red tape, thereby facilitating easier business operations.

In her last State of the Union speech before the European Parliament elections in June the following year, von der Leyen proposed extending special protections for Ukrainian citizens who had sought refuge in the EU to escape the war with Russia. She reaffirmed the EU’s long-term commitment to supporting Ukraine and shared the story of Victoria Amelina, a Ukrainian writer and activist who was killed during a Russian attack. H├ęctor Abad Faciolince, a Colombian writer who was injured in the same attack, displayed a photograph of Amelina, leading to applause from MEPs.

Von der Leyen also announced measures to support Europe’s wind industry in a bid to enhance renewable energy resources in the face of escalating inflation. She highlighted the progress made in achieving a green, digital, and geopolitical Europe since she first presented her agenda to the European Parliament in 2019. The president praised Europe’s stance on Ukraine, Russia, China, and its strategic partnerships. She emphasized the European Green Deal as the centerpiece of the continent’s economy, boasting unmatched ambition.

In addition to Ukraine, von der Leyen called for increased engagement with African countries and criticized Russia for sowing chaos in the Sahel region of the continent. She advocated for cooperation with legitimate governments and regional organizations in Africa, urging unity and purpose similar to that demonstrated in the EU’s approach to Ukraine. Overall, von der Leyen presented a comprehensive overview of the EU’s achievements and future goals in her State of the Union address.

By Editor

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