European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is set to deliver her first State of the Union address since assuming the post last July.
Despite her short tenure, von der Leyen will have no shortage of material to include in her speech. She will very likely reflect on the monumental €750 billion “Next Generation EU” recovery plan, in which she played an integral role in developing and establishing consensus. Additionally, expect her to highlight some of the numerous short and medium-term challenges the bloc faces, including the problem of growing authoritarianism within Europe, the finalisation of trade arrangements with the UK and China, and progress on the European Green Deal.
Among these, the European Green Deal will be a topic of high importance, especially as the Commission will likely struggle to secure initial investments for the project while focusing on its COVID-19 recovery plan. For instance, the implementation of the €100 billion “Just Transition Mechanism,” a fund aiding less developed countries in their green transitions, may be affected.
Despite these challenges, the recovery and reorganisation of labour markets could potentially enable the bloc to meet its long-term target of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 earlier than anticipated.
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Julian is a Research Analyst for The Daily Brief where he is a regular contributor. As a researcher and writer, Julian specializes in the political economy of East Asia and global macroeconomic developments.