13 Sep, 2023

Liberals on the State of the European Union

On 13 September, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her final State of the Union (SOTEU) speech ahead of the European elections next year. 

ALDE Party Co-President Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP welcomed President von der Leyen’s announcement of an anti-subsidy investigation into low-cost electric vehicles from China, highlighting the country’s evolving position as a geopolitical competitor and threat to liberal democracy. 

ALDE Party Vice-President Svenja Hahn MEP questioned President von der Leyen’s vision beyond the end of the legislature, stating that more work should be done to improve the business and trade environment within and beyond the European Union.  

ALDE Party Vice-President Malik Azmani MEP listed a wide range of legislation that liberals see as a priority to be concluded prior to the European elections. 

“This term cannot be successful without quick results from the EU-Tunisia deal; finishing the migration pact; continuous and increased support to Ukraine; and finally, our economy. We need to boost our competitiveness, focus on our industry in small and medium-sized enterprises, and provide access to critical raw materials and enhance our defence capabilities,” he said. 

Renew Europe Group President Stéphane Séjourné MEP emphasised the importance of making the most of the legislature’s remaining months in his intervention, while highlighting the positive steps made in response to the pandemic, Russia's aggression against Ukraine and the EU Green Deal. 

“We are here for our workers and our businesses. The reindustrialisation of the continent is now a reality underway...in the name of our sovereignty, our jobs and purchasing power. We are here for each of our citizens, for their rights. We are here to find a lasting solution to the migration issue. To protect external borders and our sovereignty while remaining a welcoming land for lives under threat,” said Séjourné. 

During the speech, titled ‘Answering the call of history’, President von der Leyen also mentioned potential EU enlargement with candidate countries such as Ukraine, Moldova and Serbia. She also spoke about issues such as rule of law, EU-Africa relations, climate change, artificial intelligence and food security. 

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