Strasbourg (dpa) – In view of the Corona pandemic, the Afghanistan disaster and rising worldwide rivalries, EU Fee President Ursula von Leyen needs to make the European Union far more able to motion and resilience. “We’re coming into a brand new period of intensified competitors,” she mentioned on this yr’s State of the Union handle on Wednesday. Local weather and financial management is central to Europe’s world and safety objectives, she mentioned. Nevertheless, the European Defence Union was additionally wanted.
Particularly, von der Leyen introduced, amongst different issues, to strengthen the manufacturing of high-performance chips in Europe as a way to get rid of dependence on Asian producers. “Whereas demand has exploded worldwide, Europe’s share in all the worth chain has decreased, from product design to manufacturing capability,” she criticised. That’s the reason world-class analysis and improvement capability should now be introduced collectively and EU funding coordinated, she mentioned. This isn’t solely a query of our competitiveness, but in addition a query of technological sovereignty. From smartphones and electrical scooters to trains or total good factories – “no digital product with out chips”, mentioned von der Leyen.
To stop unfair competitors from third nations, an EU-wide ban on merchandise made with pressured labour is to come back. “Human rights aren’t on the market – not for any cash on the planet,” mentioned the 62-year-old. Doing enterprise globally is sweet, she mentioned, simply as world commerce is sweet and obligatory. However this shouldn’t be performed on the expense of individuals’s dignity and freedom. There are round 25 million folks affected by pressured labour.
As a lesson from the Corona pandemic, 50 billion euros are additionally to be invested in preventive well being care all through the EU over the following six years. No virus ought to ever flip a neighborhood epidemic into a world pandemic once more, von der Leyen mentioned. “There is no such thing as a higher funding for our cash.” On the similar time, the deliberate EU well being disaster preparedness company Hera ought to quickly be operational. The administration of the Corona pandemic within the EU was a hit, she mentioned. Greater than 70 per cent of adults have been absolutely vaccinated. The precedence now have to be to advance vaccination world wide. The EU will donate one other 200 million doses of vaccine by mid-2022.
In opposition to the background of the occasions in Afghanistan, von der Leyen pleaded for the growth of the European Defence Union. In her speech, she thus promoted the concept of a joint state of affairs and evaluation centre and proposed a VAT exemption on the acquisition of defence tools developed and manufactured in Europe.
In line with von der Leyen, basic selections are to be made within the first half of subsequent yr at a “European Defence Summit” organised with France’s President Emmanuel Macron. It have to be determined easy methods to use the probabilities of the EU Treaty within the area of defence, the CDU politician defined.
With a view to the already mentioned institution of a brand new EU fast response pressure, von der Leyen warned to additionally deal with a basic concern. “You possibly can have probably the most superior armed forces on the planet – however in case you are by no means prepared to make use of them, what good are they?” she requested. What has held the EU again to date, she mentioned, will not be solely a scarcity of capability but in addition a scarcity of political will. “If we develop that political will, we will do so much at EU stage,” she mentioned.
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