Skip to main content

European Commission President von der Leyen gave her first State of the European, (SOTEU), address to a socially distanced European Parliament plenary on 16 September 2020.

The State of the Union address is an opportunity for the President of the Commission to lay out their vision and legislative agenda for the upcoming year, and, in President von der Leyen’s case, for the European Union after the COIVD-19 crisis is over.

The speech focused on plans to reinforce and expand the EU’s health competencies through a proposed “EU Health Union”, and also underscored the importance of the Union’s Green Deal and ‘Digital Decade’ policies and the success of the EU’s economic recovery programme and climate ambitions. President von der Leyen also presented a more assertive image of the EU as a global actor better able to protect and promote the interests of the Union. The speech concluded noting the pressing need for migration reform, and with a general defence of the rule of law in the European Union.

This brief examines the major issues Commission President von der Leyen outlined in her inaugural State of the Union address to the European Parliament on 16 September 2020. It also analyses the options arising from her speech and their potential implications for the EU and for Ireland.

You can download the briefing here.