Reactions to von der Leyen’s state of the Union

The EU’s most powerful woman

It’s been quite a year! Not only for me, but also for Ursula von der Leyen, boss of the EU’s executive branch, the Commission. Today she gave a speech on the past year and her future ambitions.

But how did she actually perform when it comes to Recovery, Migration & Asylum, and EU Reform?

First of all, her year was a tough ride from the beginning. Many like me heavily criticized how she was nominated; ít took some time to get her cabinet together; ah, and btw one of her commissioners recently had to resign over a scandal. And only half a year in, the pandemic hit and completely torpedoed all her plans…

She adapted quite well to the crisis and presented a big recovery package: 750 billion Euros!! That took a lot of convincing of stingy country leaders and really pulled Europe together. Chapeau! But there is still some work to do to ensure that the money is actually spent according to European interests. In my view: Green transition, Digital transformation, and Resilience building. And we need to ensure that wanna-be dictators can’t use this money to cement their reign, but that the money is used to pressure them to give their judges their independence back.

So far, she failed on migration & asylum. EU Refugee camps (‘hotspots’) are still keeping people in inhumane conditions, without basic shelter, medical care, and nutrition! The recent fire in Moria showed once again how this is not an acceptable way to house anyone! People are suffering on European soil. In her speech today she addressed that. And she said some nice things like Europe is a continent of immigration, we need to treat people nicely, we need to save lives at sea and show solidarity across the EU. But so far, I only see her helping Greece rebuild another camp on the hot ashes of Moria – so here she is not convincing with her actions.

There is no movement on labour migration yet. I see a huge potential in creating a new labor migration system for Europe, creating new legal channels, and helping those who already work here in Europe, but are really discriminated against when it comes to healthcare and many other basic services and rights. Let’s see what she presents next week, when she promised to come up with new ideas for both Asylum and Migration.

My key topic, EU reform, is incredibly low on her agenda. She quasi-promised Parliament to be able to propose laws, nothing happened. She promised a reform of how we elect commissioners, nothing happened. She promised a huge conference to discuss the future of Europe, again, nothing happened! And now, in her speech, she does not even mention these topics anymore! That’s so sad, because on many of the topics below, the core issue lies in how we take decision

In many other priorities she could also do better. But I wanted to give you an idea about the topics I work on, because I can judge them best. Here is her complete speech in writing, if you are interested 🙂

All the best & thanks for reading!