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05 Oct 2022

State of the European Union: Stronger Together

State of the European Union: Stronger Together

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers the annual State of the European Union Speech on 14 September

European democracy is sometimes taken for granted. However, our EU democracy is unique as it places citizens’ well-being and rights at the heart of policymaking.

We should treasure our values, freedoms and democratic systems, which are part and parcel of EU membership.

This message highlights the forthcoming State of the European Union address - the EU’s most important annual policy speech. The speech is delivered every September by the President of the European Commission and takes stock of the past year, as well as setting out the Commission’s priorities and ambitions for the year ahead.

This year on September 14, President Ursula von der Leyen delivers her speech as the EU emerges from the coronavirus pandemic crisis but is faced with a new crisis: Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine and its fallout, including pressing challenges in relation to energy supply.

The European Commission successfully coordinated the EU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and procured safe and effective vaccines. It also managed to preserve the right to free movement of people by developing the EU COVID Vaccination Certificate. This is proof that when countries work together – the outcome can be much better.

As we seek to modernise our economies after the pandemic, NextGenerationEU - Europe’s recovery plan - has facilitated significant investment, giving new confidence to families, businesses and investors.

The European Union has shown unwavering support for Ukraine and introduced unprecedented sanctions against Russia, to reduce its capacity to wage war against Ukraine.

To ensure Europe’s security of supply, the European Commission has presented the REPowerEU plan to phase out Russian fossil fuels. This helps further accelerate the green transition, through massive investments in renewable energy.

The Commission has tabled ambitious actions to cut greenhouse gas emissions, invest in green technologies and protect the natural environment.

To advance Europe’s digital decade, the Commission has proposed rules that will shape the digital age beyond our borders, based on safe and trusted technology.

And what is more, the EU empowers people to shape their future.

Over the past year, people across the EU were invited to contribute to a joint vision for how Europe should respond to new challenges and meet people's evolving needs. Key ideas and feedback have been harvested and will be followed-up over the coming months and years.

In this year’s State of the Union speech, President von der Leyen will outline the initiatives that will bring peoples’ ideas to life. Delivering on promises - this is people-centred European democracy.

It is therefore no surprise that the latest Eurobarometer survey revealed that 83% of Irish people look upon the future of the European Union with optimism – the highest percentage of any country in the EU.

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