Strasbourg, 13 September 2023 (TDI): In the recent State of the European Union(SOTEU) debate, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) engaged in a comprehensive discussion with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
They explored the Commission’s past achievements and forthcoming plans until the June 2024 elections.
In the annual State of the European Union debate, MEPs questioned President Ursula von der Leyen on the European Commission’s work in the past and its plans until the European elections in June 2024.#SOTEU
— European Parliament (@Europarl_EN) September 13, 2023
Roberta Metsola, the President of the European Parliament (EP), set the tone by emphasizing the EU’s enhanced strength and unity.
She stressed the importance of adapting to the ever-changing world and ensuring equality of opportunity, access, and prosperity while keeping the people’s concerns at the forefront of the actions.
President von der Leyen, in her response, underlined the transformation the EU has undergone, with over 90% of the political guidelines achieved since 2019.
On the Green Deal, she announced an investigation into unfair practices related to Chinese electric vehicles to safeguard Europe’s industry.
Furthermore, President von der Leyen emphasized the need for a fair transition for farmers, families, and industry. She introduced the concept of an independent board to assess the competitiveness of new legislation.
Regarding artificial intelligence, her focus was on responsible development, suggesting the establishment of an international panel of experts similar to the IPCC for climate change.
Concerning Ukraine, the Commission proposed extending the EU’s temporary protection to the Ukrainians and allocating an extra 50 billion euros over four years for investment and reforms.
Parliamentarians’ perspectives and concerns
The State of the EU debate featured diverse views from (MEPs).
Manfred Weber, President of the European People’s Party, underscored economic growth, job creation and industry strength.
Iratxe Garcia, President of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the EP, called for reindustrialization. She advocated for green transition and strengthening the EU’s social pillar.
Stephane Séjourné, President of Renew Europe Group, praised progress in response to the pandemic. He spoke on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the European Green Deal.
Philippe Lamberts, Co-President of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, emphasized climate and environmental legislation. He viewed the ecological transition as a significant economic opportunity.
Ryszard Legutko, co-chair of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, raised concerns about instability, inflation, and EU budget problems. Marco Zanni, Chair of Identity and Democracy Group, emphasized pragmatism in addressing climate change and foreign subsidies.
Martin Schirdewan, co-chair of the Left group in the European Parliament, highlighted the challenges faced by many Europeans. Such as rising living costs and falling wages, the need for a people-centric Europe highlighted.
The SOTEU debate addressed critical issues, focusing on adaptability, fairness, and responsible development.