EU vaccine rollout praised by Ursula von der Leyen
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The European Commission President will deliver her speech to the European Parliament this morning at 8am BST (9am Central European Time). The speech is a chance for Ms von der Leyen to reflect on the EU's efforts over the past year to combat the pandemic and a litany of other issues. She is also expected to chart a recovery path for the bloc and attempt to rally the nations together. Ms Von der Leyen said: "The EU and the US will always be stronger together and of course the same goes for our neighbours in the Western Balkans."
VDL live (Image: EU)
As is customary, MEPs will be given the opportunity to voice their opinion on both the Commission’s work so far and its plan for the year ahead.
After a slow vaccine rollout, she is expected to receive a hostile reception from many MEPs who feel bitter and let down by the EU.
Digital transformation and the environment are expected to be two of the key issues discussed in Strasbourg this morning as she lays out her vision for the EU’s future.
The €807billion Covid recovery package will also feature prominently and likely be a point of scrutiny for the MEPs.
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‘We must crack down on tax havens,’ urges MEP
MEP Biljana Borzan has urged the EU to crack down on tax havens and ensure large corporations are paying fair tax.
She said it was unfair that citizens were being sent warning letters for not paying their taxes while companies making millions – or even billions – were not having to contribute to society.
Ms Borzan said it should not be the the people’s responsibilities alone to fund the pandemic recovery.
‘We must crack down on tax havens,’ urges MEP (Image: EC)
One in three women do not have a job, we must do more for gender equality
Helene Fritzon pointed out that one in three women in Europe today do not have a job and urged the EU to do more to achieve gender equality.
She also advocated for the creation of more green jobs and a more progressive vision for the union.
One in three women do not have a job, we must do more for gender equality (Image: EC)
‘We must go on the offensive against nationalists,’ says MEP
MEP Stephane Sejourne has urged pro-European parliament members to launch an offensive against nationalists.
He said: “The nationalists, who are conspicuous by their absence in this debate, will take every opportunity to get organised together so we too, we pro Europeans, should also be more effective in our work, we need to go on the offensive.”
‘We must go on the offensive against nationalists,’ says MEP (Image: EC)
‘Inequality, poverty and fear’: MEP blasts VDL’s right wing policies
MEP Sira Rego has criticised the EU’s “right wing policies” which she believes are creating “inequality, poverty and fear” as well as creating a fertile breeding ground for the far right.
She said the policies currently being followed were giving riches to the elite and not serving the population.
Ms Rego added: “Let us not to congratulate ourselves on what has been achieved.
“Let’s remember that the breeding ground for the extreme right, is this inequality this poverty and this fear which has been provoked by the right wing policies we’ve been pursuing in Europe, without regard.”
‘Inequality, poverty and fear’: MEP blasts VDL’s right wing policies (Image: EC)
Chaos reigns in the European Union, says MEP
Beata Szydlo has claimed “chaos reigns” within the EU institutions who are taking power over decisions which fall outside their remit.
She has urged the EU to return to their core values of tolerance and equality while also respect the rights of the soverign member states.
Ms Szydlo said: “Europe is here for the Europeans.
“It’s our European house, it should serve the Europeans – not the European institutions.”
Chaos reigns in the European Union, says MEP (Image: EC)
‘We can see you’re very pleased with yourself’, MEP slams VDL’s shambolic migration policies
Nicolas Bay has blasted Ursula von der Leyen for her inadequate migtation policies following her State of the Union speech.
Mr Bay raged: “You graced us with an endless speech, as ever, on the State of Union and we can see you’re very pleased with yourself, but you’re the only one who is.
“2015 already showed the failure of the European institutions but today the situation is ever more disastrous and the pressure on external borders is growing.”
He goes on to demand the EU does more to support Poland and other countries facing mass migration.
Mr Bay said Afghan refugees should be supported in the regions surrounding their country rather than allowing them to come to Europe.
‘We can see you’re very pleased with yourself’, MEP slams VDL’s shambolic migration policies (Image: EC)
‘You don’t get it’ says MEP to VDL on the Catalan Spanish conflict
Jordi Sole said: “Today, the Catalan and Spanish governments are formally resuming negotiations on how to solve the ongoing political conflict.
“You don’t get it – I understand.
“I know you will argue this is an internal matter, but we believe this is not entirely true.
“You should follow this negotiation and embrace it as much as much as it can, because in a democratic space as we want in the European Union, conflicts on self determination require a democratic and negotiated solution.
“Other authoritarian, like responses have no place in our union.”
Jordi Sole (Image: EU)
‘Deliver, deliver, deliver’: MEP urges action over words
MEP Malik Azmani has called on Ursula von der Leyen to focus on delivering her promises with the European Union citizens’ interests at the core.
He said: “Deliver on our role in a world that is increasingly unstable.
“Deliver on climate policies to cut down emissions, meet our climate targets in 2015 and adapt to new climate situations.
“Deliver on digital and on security for our citizens and standing up for our common values and the protection of the rule of law and democracy.
“Using all instruments available, deliver on migration to prevent people from taking dangerous routes that take them a long way from home, to possibly live in uncertainty.”
MEP urges action over words (Image: EU)
MEP urges EU to abandon austerity and create collective foreign and defence policies
Simona Bonafe said: “We have to leave austerity behind us, and we need to reform our economic governance system which needs an ongoing Eurozone fiscal capacity.
“And within the European semester we need to include the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Green Deal and the social pillars.
“We can only move ahead if we finally have a true European foreign and defence policy present from the land.”
MEP urges EU to abandon austerity and create collective foreign and defence policies (Image: EU)
MEP slams Ursula von der Leyen’s
MEP Daniel Caspary has slammed Ursula von der Leyen’s “debt union”.
He insisted what the people of Europe wanted was stability and opportunity rather than the EU dictating how they should spend their money.
MEP slams wealth gap in Europe
MEP Martin Schirdewan has called for the wealthy to fund the pandemic rather than the recovery being funded by the least fortunate.
He said: “The 10 richest billionaires in Europe – let me repeat those figures so you can contemplate them – the 10 richest billionaires in Europe during the pandemic have increased their net wealth by more than 180 billion euros.
“At the same time, one in five children in the European Union lives in poverty.
“And we know that the crisis is affect affected lower skilled workers and self employed service providers in precarious jobs they’ve lost their jobs.
“I don’t want them, or the Southern European youth or pensioners to have to pay for this crisis.
“We should have a minimum tax for multinational companies, which has teeth, we have to have a comprehensive financial transaction tax that could garner 40billion euros.”
Dieses Parlament, 140 ehemalige StaatschefInnen und Nobelpreistr\u00e4gerInnen, \u00fcber 100 Staaten fordern, die Patente f\u00fcr Coronaimpfstoffe freizugeben. Wann geben Sie, @vonderleyen , ihre Blockade gegen die Freigabe der Patente auf? #soteu21 pic.twitter.com/qFFXE1AqDE
\u2014 Martin Schirdewan (@schirdewan) September 15, 2021
MEP Marc Botenga slams VDL’s claim to have ‘supplied’ the world with vaccines
MEP Marc Botenga of the Left group said: “The art of semantics. Ms von der Leyen claims the EU has “supplied” vaccines to the world. In truth, she hears srtt “sold” and “often to the richest” while “other countries are prevented from producing it.”
L’art de la s\u00e9mantique. @vonderleyen affirme que l’UE a \u00ab fourni \u00bb des vaccins au monde. En vrai, elle entend srtt \u00ab vendu \u00bb et \u00ab souvent aux plus riches \u00bb pendant \u00ab qu’on emp\u00eache \u00e0 d’autres pays d’en produire. \u00bb #soteu21
\u2014 Marc Botenga (@BotengaM) September 15, 2021
Mediterranean ignored in migration discussion, claims MEP
Raffaele Fitto said: “The international issue of migration is creating an emergency, you talked about a migration pact
“There are three fronts here, a very different approach federal there’s Central Europe.
There’s hypocritical investments resources, then relations with Turkey, but nothing has been done in the Mediterranean though.
“Migration is being used for political advantage by Lukashenko.
“We are prepared to tackle this.
“We’re not interested in a Federalist project emerging from the constant feature view.
“If you will reset the member states that then we’re on board.
“But trying to isolate particular MSA it’s not too apparent.
“It just shows that a majority is trying to impose its views on the others.
“And that runs counter to the principles of a union that should respect the diversity and the competencies of the individual member states.”
Raffaele Fitto (Image: EU)
MEP slams EU’s ‘orgy of spending money’
Jorg Meuthen has slammed the EU’s “orgy of spending money”.
The MEP said the people of Europe wanted to keep their hard earned money instead of passing it over to the EU and wanted nothing more than to be left alone by the Commission.
He said: “You are literally leading the people of Europe into a cold and dark future literally.
“You’re not perfect – today you’re sick patient.”
We must act on climate change, says MEP
Philippe Lamberts has called on the EU to act more decisively on climate change.
He said those who were reluctant to implement changes for fear of destroying jobs should consider the detrimental impact climate change would have on jobs.
We must act on climate change, says MEP (Image: EU)
We must do more to protect women, says MEP
An MEP has delivered an impassioned speech about the danger women experienced during the pandemic.
She lamented that many women were trapped in a home with their domestic abuser and urged the EU to do more to protect women.
We must do more to protect women, says MEP (Image: EU)
MEP calls for cooperation with US snubbing UK
MEP Manfred Weber has called for cooperation with the USA to combat Russia and China but has made no mention of working with Britain.
He said there were two steps for a common foreign policy.
He said: “Firstly, the rapid development of a vaccine was only possible because the authorities worked quickly during the approval process.
“No blockades, but this speed is what we also need now, in other fields of the research sector and in the investments for the climate protection
“With an immediate action plan for cutting bureaucracies, in the European Union, we should work together with all stakeholders to identify 300 EU regulations that we will abolish or simplify, in the next 12 months.
“Secondly, for the production of an electric car only half the number of employees is needed, many industrial jobs in the European Union are under threat.
“New jobs are urgently needed in today’s European Union.
“International trade was, and is, a job machine.
“Why not now to pick up this debate with our American friends, let us negotiate an EU US trade emergency programme on the mobility sector on Mechanical Engineering in the digital economy, as soon as possible as a first step for a more broader, comprehensive trade agreement.
“Only this will be the way to strengthen the Western economy key industrial sectors, and together we can protect ourselves against China.
“The European Union and the US together represent 50 percent of the global economy.
“Together, we can start the growth machine that benefits the whole world.”
We must not let Russia and China replace the US as policeman of the world, says MEP
Manfed Weber MEP has called for a common foreign and defence policy.
He said: “Joe Biden is clear, the US is no longer a world policeman, but Russia and China are just waiting to fill the vacuum, and that would be fatal for the future.
“We would wake up in a world in which we, and also our children will not want to live.”
Manfed Weber MEP (Image: EU)
Europe will ‘put a price on pollution’
VDL said: "We will put a price on pollution.
“We will have smarter cars and cleaner airplanes, and we will make sure that higher climate ambition comes with more social ambition."
VDL outlines key aims for EU defence strategy
VDL has called for better intelligence sharing and said the EU could consider a joint situational awareness center.
She also urged the improvement of interoperability, floating the idea of waiving value-added tax when buying defense equipment developed and produced in Europe.
Finally, she said that Europe should strive to be a leader in cyber.
VDL urges cooperation on migration
VDL said: “As long as we do not find common ground on how to manage migration, our opponents will continue to target this.
“Meanwhile, human traffickers, continue to exploit people through deadly routes across the Mediterranean.
“And these events show us that every country has a stake in building a European migration system.
“The new pact on migration and asylum gives us everything we need to manage the different types of situations we face all the elements are there.
“This is a balanced and humane system that works for all member states in all circumstances.
“We know that we can find common ground.
“But in the year since the commission presented the packed, progress has been painfully slow and I think this is the moment now for European migration management policy.
“I urge this house and the member states to speed up the process.”
VDL accuses Belarus of trying to destabilise Europe
VDL said: “Honourable Members, human beings are not bargaining chips.
“Look at what happened at our borders with fellows regime in Minsk has instrumentalized human beings.
“They have put people on planes and literally push them towards Europe’s border.
“This can never be tolerated and the quick European reaction shows that and rest assured we will continue to stand together with Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.
“And let’s call it what it is, it is a hybrid attack to destabilise Europe will never tolerate that.”
VDL accuses Belarus of trying to destabilise Europe (Image: EU)
VDL: “Doing business around the world is good.
“Global trade around the world – that is good and necessary.
“But it’s this can never ever be done at the expense of people’s dignity and freedom.
“Today, there are around 25 million people out there who are threatened or coerced into forced labour.
“We can never accept that they are forced to make products, and that these products, then end up for sale here in shops in Europe.
“So we will propose a ban on products are now market that have been made by forced labour, because human rights are not for sale at any price.”
Climate and economic leadership central to security
VDL said: “Honourable Members, climate and economic leadership is central to Europe’s global and security objectives.
“It also reflects a wider shift in world affairs at a time of transition towards a new international order.
“We are entering a new era of hyper competitiveness, an era in which some stuff had nothing to gain influence from vaccine promises to high interest loans from missiles to misinformation, an era of regional rivalries and major powers refocusing their attention towards each other.
“Recent events in Afghanistan are not the cause of this change, but they are a symptom of it.”
More aid for Afghanistan from the EU
VDL has promised €100million more humanitarian aid for Afghanistan.
She did not explain how the EU would deliver that assistance given that the Taliban are now in control of the country and blatantly violating human rights.
EU should be a world leader on semi-conductors
EU should be a world leader on semi-conductors (Image: EU)
‘We can do something about climate change’, says VDL
Speaking about the devastating floods and fires over the summer Ms von der Leyen says that "climate change is only man-made, and since it is man-made, we can do something about it."
She also acknowledged the recently-published IPCC report which stated “code red for humanity”.
"If we don't believe our own eyes, we have to follow the science,” she added.
MEP backlash has already begun
The MEP backlash to VDL’s speech has already begun on Twitter:
At the moment @vonderleyen delivers her #SOTEU speech in the @Europarl_EN . She talks about achievements during the COVID crisis. Unfortunately no word about uncoordinated lockdowns and travel restrictions. An improvement in coordination must be the goal for the future.
\u2014 Thomas Waitz (@thomaswaitz) September 15, 2021
EU to invest in 5G
VDL has announced that the EU will be investing in 5G as they move forward.
She said: “We will invest in 5G and fibre.
“Equally important is the investment in digital skills – this is such an important topic.
“This task needs leaders attention, and it needs a structured dialogue, a top level we really have to emphasise that and put a strong focus on our response provides a clear direction to market and investors alike.”
‘We learned the lessons from the past’, claims VDL
Ursula von der Leyen said: “We learned the lessons from the past when we were too divided and too delayed, and the differences stuck.
“Last time, it took us eight years for the Eurozone GDP to get back to pre crisis level.
“This time, we expect 19 countries to be at pre pandemic levels.”
VDL proposes new health preparedness and resilience mission for EU
Ms von der Leyen said: “I am proposing a new health preparedness and resilience mission for the whole of the European Union, and it should be backed up by Team Europe investment of 50 billion by 2027 to make sure that no virus will ever turn epidemic, again, in a global pandemic.
“There is no better return on investment than that.”
VDL acknowledges unequal EU vaccine roll-out
VDL said: “We see worrisome divergences between member states where vaccination rates are concerned.
“So we need to keep up the momentum, and Europe is ready.
“We have 1.8 billion additional doses secured.
“This is enough for us and our neighbourhood when booster shots are needed.
“So let’s do everything possible that this does not turn into a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
VDL celebrates 30 years of single market
VDL has celebrated 30 years fo the single market in her speech to MEPs today.
She said: ” We will soon celebrate 30 years of single market.
“For 30 years it has been the great enabler of progress and prosperity in Europe.
“We had to defend it against the pressures of erosion and fragmentation.
“For our recovery the single market is the driver of good jobs and competitiveness.”
EU vows to help vaccinate the rest of the world
VDL has vowed to help vaccinate lower economically developed countries outside the EU.
She said: “With less than 1 percent of global doses administered in low income countries, a scale of injustice and the level of urgency is obvious.
“This is one of the great geopolitical issues in our time.
“Team Europe is investing 1 billion euro to ramp production capacity with Africa.
“We have already committed to share 250 million doses of vaccine.
“I can announce today that the Commission will add a new donation of another 200 million doses until the middle of next year.
“This is an investment in solidarity, and it is an investment, also in global health.”
‘We did it the European way and it worked’, VDL said of the vaccination effort
VDL said: “We delivered also more than 700 million to the rest of the world, to more than 130 countries.
“And we are the only region in the world to achieve that.
“Honourable Members, a pandemic is a marathon, it’s not a sprint.
“We follow the science, we deliver to Europe, we deliver to the rest of the world, we did it the right way because we did it the European way, and I think it worked.”
VDL praises EU vaccination efforts and 70 percent of population fully vaccinated
VDL said: “I stood here in front of you 12 months ago, I did not know when or even if we could have a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19, up to date.
“Against all critics, Europe is among the world leaders, more than 70 percent of our adult population is fully vaccinated.
“We were the only ones to share half of our vaccine production with the rest of the world.
“We delivered more than 700 million doses of vaccines to the Europeans.”
VDL praises young generation
The EU Commissioner has praised the young generation in her key EU speech this morning.
Ms VDL said: “As I look across our union, I know that Europe will pass the test.
“And what gives me that confidence is the inspiration we can draw from Europe’s young people, because our youth, put meaning into empathy and solidarity.
“Our union will be stronger if it is more like our next generation, reflective determined and caring grounded in values and bold in action.”
‘Recovering and fracturing unevenly’, says VDL
Ursula von der Leyen has acknowledged that the world is “recovering and fracturing unevenly” in the wake of the pandemic and urges continued cooperation.
‘Strong soul in everything we do’ says von der Leyen
Ursula von der Leyen says the EU has a “strong soul in everything we do” and praises cooperation in the face of the pandemic.
The EU Commissioner repeats “we did it together” when referring to the pandemic.
“We did it together as 27 member states and as one union and I think we should be proud of it”, she said.
Von der Leyen releases teaser video for major EU speech
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen released a fast paced short video ahead of her speech today.
The video shows her preparing to address the MEPs to drum filled music designed to excite the member states.
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