27 May, 2024

Time to ditch von der Leyen’s delays and Renew Europe Now

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann

With the European elections around the corner, Europe is confronted with challenges that demand a united front and bold action. But Ursula von der Leyen’s promises for swift and decisive action have fallen flat. After five long years, all we have got are sluggish responses that left us wanting more, writes ALDE Party lead candidate Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann.

This article was originally published in EURACTIV on 22 May.

To be honest, von der Leyen’s track record is not exactly inspiring. She was slow on the draw already back in her German government days, and her stint leading the European Commission feels like more of the same. And let’s not forget: Her rise to power was a product of luck and backroom deals, rather than a deliberate choice by the people.

Back in 2019, we were sold a dream of progress and innovation with von der Leyen at the helm. But what did we get? More red tape and bureaucracy, more empty words and more disappointment.

She said she would support small businesses, but they feel like they have been left out in the cold.

She talked big about protecting democracy and human rights, but when push came to shove, she looked the other way, especially in EPP-led countries like Greece.

She wanted to enable technological advances, but instead she is subsidising technological lags through state subsidies.

She promised that this year’s elections would be truly European, but she is not even running in the race.

A lot can change in five years. During this mandate alone, we have seen wars, a global pandemic, and an energy crisis. But the empty promises have been loudest of all.

Now is our time to turn things around. Liberals, centrists, and democrats are not just fighting for a better Europe; we are fighting for a Europe that thrives. That means prosperity that reaches every single European, a commitment to more sustainable living that embraces new technologies.

We are fighting for a Europe that is safe and democratic. That means enhancing our defence and security systems, both online and offline, and strengthening our economy.

And we are fighting to earn back citizens’ trust by delivering on our promises. That means listening to people and giving them a say in how Europe is run, creating stronger and transparent institutions, removing vetoes and defending the rule of law. Because at the end of the day, Europe belongs to all of us.

The von der Leyen legacy will be one of missed opportunities, broken promises and profound disappointment. But we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

We want leaders who overcome challenges. Leaders who stand up for what’s right, even when it’s hard. And most importantly, leaders who aren’t afraid to dream big and make those dreams a reality.

So, let’s do this. Let’s Renew Europe Now and build a brighter future for all of us.

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