Tag Archives: Ursula von der Leyen

#SOTEU: Photo reportage Strasbourg Plenary

Strasbourg 15.09.2021 Aleksy Witwicki photo reportage: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers her state of the union address #SOTEU at the European Parliament Plenary on Wednesday (15 September), outlining the future perspectives for the Commission policies.

Von der Leyen, a former German defence minister who took the reins of the EU executive two years ago charts some new policy or the 27 bloc, particularly underlining the importance of strategic thinking on the issues of Defence, security, and migration.

Unlike per predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker after the highly enthusiastic speech the president of the Commission preferred to avid the meeting with press, and left Strasbourg without media democratic scrutiny, confirming once again her reputation of “virtual” head of the Insitution.

#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 Ursula von der Leyen, State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org
#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 Hemicycle European Parlamenst State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org

#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 European Parlamenst State of the Union Address 2021 Greetings. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org

#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 Ursula von der Leyen, European Parlamenst State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org
#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 MEPs European Parlamenst State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org
#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 Coffee breake European Parlamenst State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org
#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 Sanitary COVID19 rules European Parlamenst State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org
#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 Vice-president Pedro Silva Pereira, European Parlamenst State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org
#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 Ursula von der Leyen, State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org
#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 Comissioner Didier Reynders interview, State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org
#SOTEU STRASBOURG 15.09.2021 Ursula von der Leyen, State of the Union Address 2021. (c) Aleksy Witwicki photo correspondent http://www.witwicki.org

#SOTEU: EU towards European Defence Union

Strasbourg 15.09.2021 “..Witnessing events unfold in Afghanistan was profoundly painful for all the families of fallen servicemen and servicewomen” said the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen while delivering the State of the Union speech #SOTEU at Strasbourg plenary of the European Parliament.

“We bow to the sacrifice of those soldiers, diplomats and aid workers who laid down their lives.
To make sure that their service will never be in vain, we have to reflect on how this mission could end so abruptly.

“There are deeply troubling questions that allies will have to tackle within NATO.
But there is simply no security and defence issue where less cooperation is the answer. We need to invest in our joint partnership and to draw on each side’s unique strength.
This is why we are working with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on a new EU-NATO Joint Declaration to be presented before the end of the year. But this is only one part of the equation.

“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.

“First, we need to provide stability in our neighbourhood and across different regions.
We are connected to the world by narrow straits, stormy seas and vast land borders. Because of that geography, Europe knows better than anyone that if you don’t deal in time with the crisis abroad, the crisis comes to you.

“Secondly, the nature of the threats we face is evolving rapidly: from hybrid or cyber-attacks to the growing arms race in space.Disruptive technology has been a great equaliser in the way power can be used today by rogue states or non-state groups.You no longer need armies and missiles to cause mass damage. You can paralyse industrial plants, city administrations and hospitals – all you need is your laptop. You can disrupt entire elections with a smartphone and an internet connection.

“The third reason is that the European Union is a unique security provider. There will be missions where NATO or the UN will not be present, but where the EU should be.

“On the ground, our soldiers work side-by-side with police officers, lawyers and doctors, with humanitarian workers and human rights defenders, with teachers and engineers.
We can combine military and civilian, along with diplomacy and development – and we have a long history in building and protecting peace.

“The good news is that over the past years, we have started to develop a European defence ecosystem.
But what we need is the European Defence Union.

“In the last weeks, there have been many discussions on expeditionary forces. On what type and how many we need: battlegroups or EU entry forces. This is no doubt part of the debate – and I believe it will be part of the solution. But the more fundamental issue is why this has not worked in the past.

“You can have the most advanced forces in the world – but if you are never prepared to use them – of what use are they? “What has held us back until now is not just a shortfall of capacity – it is the lack of political will. And if we develop this political will, there is a lot that we can do at EU level..”

SOTEU: Afghan Support Package in view

Strasbourg 15.09.2021 “…Recent events in Afghanistan are not the cause of this change – but they are a symptom of it” the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said, while delivering the State of Union speech at European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg.
“And first and foremost, I want to be clear. We stand by the Afghan people. The women and children, prosecutors, journalists and human rights defenders”.

“I think in particular of women judges who are now in hiding from the men they jailed. They have been put at risk for their contribution to justice and the rule of law. We must support them and we will coordinate all efforts with Member States to bring them to safety.

“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.

“This will be part of a new, wider Afghan Support Package that we will present in the next weeks to combine all of our efforts” the president of the Commission concluded.

#SOTEU: Future of Europe debate

Strasbourg 14.09.2021 The State of the EU debate, looking at work to date and plans for the future, takes place on 15 September in Strasbourg. .

What is the State of the European Union debate?
The State of the European Union debate takes place every September when the president of the European Commission comes to the European Parliament to discuss with MEPs what the Commission has done over the past year, what it intends to do in the coming year and its vision for the future.

This is an opportunity for Parliament, the EU’s only directly-elected institution, to hold the European Commission to account. Members will scrutinise the Commission’s work and make sure that the key concerns of Europeans are addressed.
Why is the 2021 State of the EU debate important?
The priorities that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented during last year’s State of the European Union debate are still relevant: the EU continues its efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic and move towards social and economic recovery, while staying true to its flagship programmes, such as the European Green Deal and the Digital Strategy.

What is the best way to follow it?
The debate will be streamed live online on our website on Wednesday 15 September from 9.00 CET. Interpretation will be available in all 24 official EU languages – simply select the language of your choice. The Parliament together with the Commission will also stream the debate on Facebook.

You can also join the discussion on our other social media channels, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SOTEU.

EU doesn’t recognise Taliban

Brussels 21.08.2021 The European Union has not recognised the Taliban, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday, August 21, nor is it holding political talks with the militants, a week after they seized control of Afghanistan. However during her visit to Spain the EU top executive expressed determination to support Afghan people. (Image above: archive)

Von der Leyen noted that despite the Taliban’s rhetoric, accepting inclusive approach, there have already been numerous reports of oppression targeting women, revenge killings and abductions.

“Not a single euro can go to a regime … that denies women and girls their full freedom and rights to education and careers,” she said.

“The situation is still very unclear and very unpredictable,” she added. “We will measure [the Taliban] above all by their deeds and their actions.”

EU: 60% vaccinated adults

Brussels 02.07.2021 Today,the European Commission president announced that 60% of all adults in the EU are now fully vaccinated. “Full vaccination protects us from #COVID19 and its variants” the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen wrote on her Twitter micro blog.
“Let’s stay vigilant. Let’s get vaccinated! For our own health – and to protect others” the EU top official called.

Pfizer company is raising the price of its Covid19 product in Europe by over 25% under a newly negotiated contract with the European Union (EU), according to a report from the Financial Times (FT) newspaper. Competitor Moderna is also hiking the price of its vaccine in Europe by roughly 10%.

Pfizer’s Covid19 biological agent is already expected to generate the most revenue of any medicine in a single year—about $33.5 billion for 2021 alone, according to the pharmaceutical company’s own assessment. However the company says it’s providing poorer countries the vaccine at a highly discounted price.

Pfizer company previously charged the EU €15.50 per dose for its vaccine, which is based on new revolutionary mRNA technology. The company will now charge €19.50 for 2.1 billion doses that will be delivered through the year 2023, according to the FT newspaper.

EU-US: transatlantic partnership renewed

Brussels 15.06.2021 The EU-US summit on 15 June 2021 marked the beginning of a renewed transatlantic partnership and set a joint agenda for EU-US cooperation in the post-pandemic era. The leaders committed to regular dialogue to take stock of progress.

Key summit deliverables include three major new trade initiatives. The leaders agreed to:
– create a Cooperative Framework for Large Civil Aircraft;
– engage in discussions to resolve differences on measures regarding steel and aluminium by the end of the year;
– establish an EU-US Trade and Technology Council;
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, represented the EU. President Joe Biden represented the United States. It was the first EU-US summit since 2014 and the first visit by a US President to the EU institutions since 2017.
At the end of the summit, the leaders adopted a joint statement.

The European Union and the United States represent 780 million people who share democratic values and the largest economic relationship in the world. We have a chance and a responsibility to help people make a living and keep them safe and secure, fight climate change, and stand up for democracy and human rights. We laid the foundations of the world economy and the rules-based international order after World War II based on openness, fair competition, transparency and accountability. Some of the rules need an update: to protect our health, our climate and planet, to ensure democracy delivers and technology improves our lives.

“We, the leaders of the European Union and the United States, met today to renew our Transatlantic partnership, set a Joint Transatlantic Agenda for the post-pandemic era, and commit to regular dialogue to take stock of progress.

“Together, we intend to: (i) end the COVID-19 pandemic, prepare for future global health challenges, and drive forward a sustainable global recovery; (ii) protect our planet and foster green growth; (iii) strengthen trade, investment and technological cooperation; and (iv) build a more democratic, peaceful and secure world. We are committed to uphold the rules-based international order with the United Nations at its core, reinvigorate and reform multilateral institutions where needed, and cooperate with all those who share these objectives”.

EU leaders heading G7 Cornwall

Brussels 10.06.2021 The G7 summit hosted by this year’s UK G7 presidency will take place from 11 to 13 June in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK.

The EU will be represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

The UK has invited leaders from Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa to attend part of the meeting as guest countries.

At the end of the summit, the leaders are expected to adopt a leaders’ communiqué.

The UK Presidency’s overarching theme is ‘Building Back Better’ from the pandemic. This will be reflected in all six working sessions.

“On 11-13 June, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel and the President of the
European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will represent the EU at the 46th G7 Summit hosted
by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.
This will be the first G7 Summit since the 2019 summit in Biarritz.
The summit comes after the G20 Global Health Summit and just before the EU-US Summit on 15
June. It will provide an impetus for the G20 Summit in October, the UN COP15 on Biodiversity in
October, the COP26 on Climate Change in November and the World Trade Organisation
Ministerial Conference in December.
As societies and economies guided by shared values, G7 leaders will commit to beating COVID-19
and tackle the recovery to ensure a more resilient international order.
The UK’s Presidency’s overarching theme this year is ‘Building Back Better’ from the pandemic.
This theme will be reflected in the six working sessions taking place between Friday 11 June and
Sunday 13 June”.

EU-US Summit on 15 June

Brussels 06.06.2021 The EU and US leaders are expected to address a wide range of issues of common concern, including COVID-19, climate, trade and investment, foreign affairs, and common values. The EU will be represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The US will be represented by President Joe Biden.

Representatives from Washington and Brussels met in the Belgian capital on Wednesday,June 2, to reaffirm the strength of the EU-US partnership on foreign policy and security issues.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Stefano Sannino, secretary general of the European External Action Service, met as the Biden administration seeks to reassure European allies after the transatlantic relationship took a battering under former president Donald Trump.

Sannino and Sharman called the upcoming summit “as an important step in the revitalized transatlantic partnership.”

Presidents of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and European Council Charles Michel will host US President Joe Biden in Brussels, however Biden will participate at a NATO leaders’ summit in Brussels a day earlier.

The leaders are expected to hold talks on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, trade and regulatory policies, as well as various foreign policy questions at the summit.

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will travel to the United Kingdom and Belgium in June 2021. This will be the first overseas travel by President Biden. This trip will highlight his commitment to restoring our alliances, revitalizing the Transatlantic relationship, and working in close cooperation with our allies and multilateral partners to address global challenges and better secure America’s interests.

President Biden will attend the G7 Summit in Cornwall, U.K., which is happening from June 11-13, where he will reinforce our commitment to multilateralism, work to advance key U.S. policy priorities on public health, economic recovery, and climate change, and demonstrate solidarity and shared values among major democracies. He will also hold bilateral meetings with fellow G7 leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

From the United Kingdom the President will travel to Brussels, Belgium, where he will participate in the NATO Summit on June 14. President Biden will affirm the United States’ commitment to NATO, Transatlantic security, and collective defense. NATO leaders will discuss how to orient the Alliance to future threats and ensure effective burden sharing. The President will also hold bilateral meetings with fellow NATO leaders.

While in Brussels President Biden will participate in a U.S.–EU Summit, which will underscore our commitment to a strong Transatlantic partnership based on shared interests and values. The leaders will discuss a common agenda to ensure global health security, stimulate global economic recovery, tackle climate change, enhance digital and trade cooperation, strengthen democracy, and address mutual foreign policy concerns.

We look forward to having further details to share about this trip soon, including potential additional elements.

EU-Japan online SUmmit

Bruxelles 27.05.2021 EU-Japan summit has take place via video conference, 27 May 2021.The EU was represented by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Japan has been represented by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. (Image above: Japan, urban landscape).

The leaders adopted a joint statement: ‘… Defeating the COVID-19 pandemic remains our highest priority. We view the vaccination process not as a race between countries but a race against time. Recognising extensive
immunisation as a global public good, we support universal, equitable and affordable access to
safe, effective and quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments, as well as
the strengthening of health systems. To this end, we have made substantial contributions to the
Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and its COVAX facility and are making efforts to
expand production of vaccines and other COVID-19 health products across the world. We will
also cooperate for the success of the COVAX AMC Summit on 2 June to be co-hosted by Japan
and Gavi. We welcome the EU’s leading role as a supplier of vaccines globally, including to
Japan. We will work towards the expansion of vaccine production and keeping supply chains
open and we call for refraining from unnecessary export and travel restrictions. We will work
also to restore visa waiver reciprocity. We support the holding of the Olympic and Paralympic
Games Tokyo 2020 in a safe and secure manner this summer as a symbol of global unity in
defeating COVID-19″.

We are determined to harness the benefits of data and digital transformation for society, the
environment and the economy, while upholding fundamental rights. We will collaborate to
promote global standards and comprehensive, including regulatory, approaches for digital
policies and technologies, notably on cybersecurity, secure 5G, “Beyond 5G” / 6G technologies,
block chain, and safe and ethical applications of artificial intelligence while encouraging an
innovative environment. This collaboration will also cover open and interoperable network
architectures. We underline our joint commitment to high standards of protection for personal
data, based on the already high degree of convergence between our systems. We undertake to
continue cooperation on “Data Free Flow with Trust” with a view to facilitating safe and secure
cross-border data flows through enhancing security and privacy. This will help us harness the
benefits of the digital economy. We will strive to reach a consensus-based solution on digital
taxation by mid-2021 within the OECD. We will work on strengthening EU-Japan digital
cooperation to support an inclusive, sustainable, human-centric digital transformation”.

Remarks by President Charles Michel after the EU-Japan summit via video conference
The EU and Japan are united in their cooperation based on shared values and principles, including freedom, respect for human rights, democracy, the rule of law, free and fair trade, effective multilateralism and the rules-based international order. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the EU-Japan strategic partnership.

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