Time to act together: Von der Leyen at the European Parliament July plenary

Von der leyen 2020_

Co-operators: Photographer: Etienne Ansotte (European Union, 2020 Source: EC – Audiovisual Service)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

“If we do it right, we can also emerge stronger from this crisis thanks to a common European purpose based on NextGenerationEU,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on 8 July. She spoke at the European Parliament plenary on the presentation of the programme of activities of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. “This Presidency has chosen to put one word at the core of its programme. Gemeinsam. Together. Tous ensemble. That is the engine of our Union”, she stressed at the start.

President von der Leyen referred to several priorities of the German Presidency, particularly to overcoming the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the economic recovery. She acknowledged that each and every Member State had work to do, and that we all needed to ‘change to the better’ if we wanted to come out stronger from the crisis. “This is what European people expect us to do,” she said and added that economic recovery was inseparable from other key European priorities, such as the Green Deal, digitalisation and resilience.

She highlighted the EU’s long-term budget as the most important tool to implement our goals and policies. “NextGenerationEU is for the acute crisis – but the MFF is there to stay”, she underlined.

President von der Leyen called for quick action to reach an agreement on the European recovery package in the next weeks to be able to engage on several long-term priorities, among others charting the path towards climate-neutral Europe, and speeding up the digital transition.

Looking ahead, she said the EU would do its utmost to find an agreement with the United Kingdom on a new relationship, maintain strong transatlantic relations, strengthen the partnership with Africa and continue to work with China. “In all these areas, I am glad that we can count on Germany’s experience – starting with the European Council next week,” she said echoing the motto of the German  Presidency “Gemeinsam Europa stark Machen” (Together for Europe’s recovery).

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