State of the Union 2022

On September 14, the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen delivered the annual State of the Union speech, in the plenary session of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg.

The President opened her speech with a harsh condemnation of Putin’s actions in the Ukrainian war, confirming that the EU will continue to support Ukraine, announcing further financial support for the rehabilitation of damaged schools and the intention to welcome Ukraine into the Single Market. The burden of increased gas prices was addressed, underlining the importance of decoupling the influence of gas on the price of electricity. To this end, the President underlined the Union’s commitment to putting in place measures to support Europeans weathering the energy crisis and called for European countries to invest in other sources and announced it will create a new European Hydrogen Bank. Emphasis was also put on climate adaptation and protecting our nature, and further investment in renewable energy.

The president also recalled the importance the NextGenerationEU had in the economic recovery and announced that reforms in the economic governance will be adopted soon, like more flexibility on debt reduction paths and more space for strategic investment. Other innovations are a proposal for a Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Relief Package, the revision of the Late Payment Directive and an increased focus on investing in professional education and upskilling, making 2023 the European Year of Skills.

Trade relations with third countries will be strengthened and new partnerships will be established, to secure supplies of rare earth metals, and a European Critical Raw Materials Act will be introduced. Additionally, the President called for the EU to support the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia in building strong democracies, and for a Defence of Democracy Package. Lastly, the President expressed the need to open a constitutional convention that will lead to a revision of the Treaties, in order to enshrine “solidarity between generations”.

On the same day, President von der Leyen also addressed a letter to the European parliament’s President, Ms Metsola, and the Council’s President, Mr Fiala, in which she details actions and initiatives the Commission is intending on taking in the following year.

To consult the recording or the transcript of the speech, please visit here.