EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen delivers first ‘State of the Union’ speech
In her first speech on the state of the European UNion The EU’s most powerful senior official Ursula von der Leyen unveiled plans to reboot the bloc’s battered economy with what is being dubbed a “green new deal.”
Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said the EU should significantly toughen its emissions-cutting target to at least 55% by 2030. She suggested that 30% of the bloc’s €750 billion coronavirus recovery package should be raised through green bonds, which are financial instruments aimed at supporting climate-friendly projects. The EU agreed the stimulus plan in July that will allow the European Commission to raise billions of euros on the global financial markets. MEPs and EU governments would still need to agree to the plan.
Speaking at the European Parliament in Brussels, the former German defense minister said that the coronavirus crisis presented the bloc with “a moment for the EU to lead the way.” She urged EU governments to work on common health care policies, promising a biomedical research agency and a global summit. Von der Leyen said the coronavirus pandemic had underlined the need for closer cooperation.
Von der Leyen made only a passing reference to Brexit because talks are being led by the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier. She warned Downing Street that it would fail to seal a trade deal with the EU if it tried to rewrite last year’s withdrawal agreement.