EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has given her third State of the Union address. The annual speech in the European Parliament is an opportunity for the Commission President to take stock and discuss her priorities over the coming months.
So, what is the state of the EU? Von der Leyen covered several topics during her speech to MEPs, yet there was a common thread running throughout: the fight to protect democracy.
For the European Commission President, Russia’s invasion on February 24 represented not just an attack on Ukraine, but an assault on the entire post-war international system. Putin’s energy blackmail against Europe is “a war on our energy, a war on our economy, a war on our values and a war on our future”.
The only response, for von der Leyen, is solidarity between peoples and states committed to common democratic values, both in response to the energy crisis and the cost of living, and solidarity with Ukraine as it fights to defeat the Russian invasion force.
Today, 15 September is the International day of Democracy. Part of President von der Leyen’s speech also covered the Conference on the Future of Europe and the future of EU democracy, including the announcement that deliberative democracy is here to stay: “The Citizens’ Panels that were central to the Conference will now become a regular feature of our democratic life.”
What’s the state of the EU? How should Europe respond to rising energy prices and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Are democracies stronger than authoritarian states when they display solidarity based on common values? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!