State of the EU 2021: Watch live as Ursula von der Leyen gives key annual speech

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European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen is to deliver her annual State of the European Union address on Wednesday to take stock of the past 12 months and outlines plans for the coming year.

She will address MEPs at 09:00 CEST. Watch live in the video player, above.

Here is a summary of what you need to know. Follow live text updates, below.

In summary

  • This is the 10th State of the European Union — SOTEU — speech delivered and VDL’s second;
  • MEPs will voice their opinions on the European Commission’s work and plans after the speech;
  • COVID is to take centre-stage with VDL expected to reiterate the bloc is now leading the US on vaccinations;

  • The Recovery Plan, the bloc’s €807 billion package to boost member states’ COVID-hit economies, likely to also feature prominently;

  • Also certain to be included: the EU’s efforts to tackle climate change and protect the rule of law;

  • Now read this: Did von der Leyen deliver on last year’s promises?

Follow live updates


This SOTEU is ‘crucial’: Jourova 

Vera Jourova, the Commission’s Vice-President on Values and Transparency, which includes the rule of law portfolio, described the coming SOTEU as “crucial” on Wednesday, “as any proposals still to be adopted in this mandate need to be introduced now.”


The Commission wants you to know … Part 3

On climate change, here’s what Brussels has been doing over the past 12 months:

  • MEPs and EU leaders have reached a deal to reduce net greenhouse gas emission by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels;
  • the European Climate Law also enshrines in legislation the EU’s commitment to reaching climate neutrality by 2050;
  • the European Green Deal package was presented in July 2021 and plans for greater energy efficiency with more renewables, better housing construction standards. 
  • it also includes a Just Transition Mechanism to help regions transition towards a climate-neutral eonomy. 


The Commission wants you to know … Part 2

On the economic recovery, the Commission kindly reiterates that:

  • a €2 trillion package has been reached, which includes the bloc’s next seven-year budget (€1.2 trillion) and a stimulus package of €807 billion;
  • EU bonds were issued for the very first time to raise money to fund the stimulus package;
  • it has now approved 18 of the national recovery and resilience plans submitted in late August which details what member states will do with the money from Brussels. 


The Commission wants you to know…Part 1

The EU’s executive released a handy 51-page report last week on its “achievements” of the past year.

The first part is, no surprise, dedicated to the global health crisis. Here’s what the Commission wants you to know:

  • Over 522 million doses of the vaccines have been administered in the 27-country bloc;
  • More than 70% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated;
  • The Digital COVID Certificate is “a symbol of an open and safe Europe”, helping the aviation activity to recover to over 70% of pre-crisis levels;
  • There’s a strategy to help against future health crises which includes stronger mandates for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Medicines Agency and building the EU’s pharmaceutical strategic autonomy.
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Are you ready for it?

In case you’re not quite pumped up yet over the coming SOTEU, von der Leyen has you covered.

She released a video on Monday showing her “getting ready” for the address and set on a fast-paced drum-filled music. That ought to do the trick!


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