Von der Leyen’s State of the Union Speech – Hopefully the last!

What a strange speech from an outgoing Commission President we have heard.

Mrs. Von der Leyen did not address a single word to the concerns of the many Europeans who can no longer afford to live daily. Not a word on social inequality and child poverty, nothing on the impending economic recession. Even the important social policy lighthouse projects of the ETUC such as the Social Protocol to the European Treaties were not mentioned by the President. Instead, self-congratulation exceeding the limits of denying reality. As if 1.5 million deaths in the Corona pandemic were proof of the quality of the EU’s health policy and the natural disasters of recent months were not proof of inadequate environmental policy.

The daily deaths in the Mediterranean of people seeking protection show that the human rights outcome is no better. However, the speech showed that the president wants to continue this path.

As a substitute for social and environmental policy, Mrs. Von der Leyen offered a “geopolitical EU”, synonymous with global imperialist ambitions of the Union. Instead of taking initiatives to end the war in Ukraine or supporting those undertaken by others, she wants to let the war continue “as long as it takes.”

From the beginning to the end, Von der Leyen’s speech was borne under the illusion that one can carry out the necessary social and ecological transformation and at the same time have a war financed and waged on European soil. The real results demonstrate the opposite.

The reality check of Von der Leyen’s speech proves that this Commission, despite individual progress wrested from it by Parliament in social policy, ecology and peace policy, has failed in terms of its own goals.