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Von der Leyen before what could be her last State of the Union speech as Commission President

Von der Leyen before what could be her last State of the Union speech as Commission President

Ursula von der Leyen will deliver on Wednesday, whatever may be his final State of the Union address (SOTEU) as President of the Commission. At the end of the legislative period, the first woman to head the community board arrives There are just under nine months left until the European elections, which promise to change the continent’s political landscapewhich has been consolidated over the last four years by the convergence of popular, social democrats and liberals in the European Parliament, with the particular support of the Greens and, in some matters, even of the Left.

The former German defense minister, elected “in extremis” in 2019, is facing the most important debate about the political course in Europe, her third annual review in the European Parliament. He will make it in the final spurt a difficult political year, marked by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the opening of an uncertain horizon for expanding the portfolio of the members of the European Union. A plan expected last week by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, of Slovenia and approved by the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola.

The adaptation of the new partners could take place in a new scheme according to levels and themes, community sources report to this newspaper. Lying on top of the table the candidacies of the Western Balkan countries as well as Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. A renewed eastward expansion is intended to prevent these countries from coming into Russia’s sphere of influence. However, the same sources indicate that this expansion will not be possible unless comprehensive reforms are first carried out within the EU.

Nothing has been leaked about the content of Von der Leyen’s speech. Unlike other editionsNobody or almost nobody has any idea where the President of the Commission may come from. Although he has given hints on his social network account X (the old Twitter). Von der Leyen released a video about the war in Ukraine, which features, among other protagonists, the Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina, who was murdered on June 27 in a Russian attack on a pizzeria in Kramatorsk frequented by international journalists and humanitarian workers . Last year, Von der Leyen invited Olena Selenska, wife of President Volodymyr Zelensky and First Lady of Ukraine, to the debate on the state of the nation. It’s likely he’ll send a similar message this time.

But it will by no means be an accountability exercise, community sources claim. On the contrary: the German head of state is expected to outline the future challenges of the twenty-seven. Of course, without introducing new proposals on legislative issues. Among other things, because there is hardly any time left. Although the final session is scheduled for next April, the European Parliament will “de facto” be dissolved in mid-February when MEPs return to their respective countries to campaign.

Von der Leyen will take stock of these four years in office, in which she chained the crises of Brexit, Covid and, as a climax, the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A scenario that, paradoxically, has become more important in the eyes of public opinion. He hasn’t shown his cards yet, but he could try to fight to stay in office. The logic goes that if he wants to present his candidacy, he would make the announcement in February, March or April, taking into account also that he must present the support of his political family, the European People’s Party (EPP). Some MPs assume that von der Leyen will seek re-election in a possible top candidate process.

In her first speech in the European Parliament when she was confirmed as Commission president four years ago, von der Leyen left an unexpected social, environmental and feminist mark to attract liberal and social democratic families. In the latter case, the German must be careful given the possible change in the balance of power in parliament. The Eurobarometer shows a significant increase in participation in the elections next June, which could lead to a decrease in support for the major European families: S&D, Liberals and EPP, to the detriment of the extremes, in particular the group of conservatives from ERC and the extremes Rights of Identity and Democracy (ID).

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