State of the Union #SOTEU

2021 State of the Union Address by President von der Leyen, 15 September 2021

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave her annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament on 15 Sept.


The speech was a chance for von der Leyen to reflect on the EU’s ongoing efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and chart a recovery path for the years ahead. Some highlights:

"Our Union will be stronger if it is more like our next generation: reflective, determined and caring.  Grounded in values and bold in action. This is a generation with a conscience. They are pushing us to go further and faster to tackle the climate crisis. This spirit will be more important than ever over the next twelve months. This is the message in the Letter of Intent I sent this morning to President Sassoli and Prime Minister Janša to outline our priorities for the year ahead."

"I want to be clear. We stand by the Afghan people. The women and children, prosecutors, journalists and human rights defenders. And we must continue supporting all Afghans in the country and in neighbouring countries. We must do everything to avert the real risk of a major famine and humanitarian disaster. And we will do our part. We will increase again humanitarian aid for Afghanistan by 100 million euro."

"Europe can – and clearly should – be able and willing to do more on its own. But if we are to do more, we first need to explain why. I see three broad categories."

"Human beings are not bargaining chips. Recent events show us that every country has a stake in building a European migration system.The New Pact on Migration and Asylum gives us everything we need to manage the different types of situations we face. But in the year since the Commission presented the Pact, progress has been painfully slow. I think, this is the moment now for a European migration management policy. So I urge you, in this House and in Member States, to speed up the process. This ultimately comes down to a question of trust. Trust between Member States. Trust for Europeans that migration can be managed. Trust that Europe will always live up to its enduring duty to the most vulnerable and most in need."

Read the full speech State of the Union here