The Malta Independent 24 September 2020, Thursday

European values, including golden passports, are not for sale – European Commission president

Wednesday, 16 September 2020, 09:20 Last update: about 7 days ago

During her first State of the Union address, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen highlighted that golden passports are amongst the list of European values which “are not for sale”.

On Wednesday, von der Leyen was addressing the European Parliament during the State of the Union address, where she highlighted a number of issues, such as migration, digitalisation and the importance of well-being during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Stating how she will continue to defend the rule of law and integrity of European institutions, she listed a number of items which are to be protected.

“Breaches of the rule of law cannot be tolerated. I will continue to defend it and the integrity of our European institutions. Be it about the primacy of European law, the freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary or the sale of golden passports. European values are not for sale.”

Migration

On the topic of migration, von der Leyen expressed the importance migration has played in building the Europe we have today and that whilst a lot has been done there is still more work to do.

“Next week the Commission will put forward its New Pact on Migration (…) a pact which will take a human and humane approach.” She said that she expects all Member States to pull their weight, “migration is a European challenge and all of Europe must do its part.”

Climate neutrality by 2050

Von der Leyen also spoke about the importance of protecting nature and how now more than ever people understand the importance of green spaces for mental health and physical wellbeing. She highlighted that the EU has a mission to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. “On the basis, the European Commission is proposing to increase the 2030 target for emission reduction to at least 55%.”

She said that next summer the EU will revise its climate and energy legislations to make it “fit for 55”. She said that it is crucial that society changes how it treats nature, how it produces and consumes raw materials and focuses on building a stronger world to live in.

Europe’s Digital Decade

Von der Leyen also highlighted the importance of technology and how different the past six months would have been without the advancement in technology. She said that Europe needs to have a common plan for digital Europe with clear defined goals for 2030, which focus on connectivity, skills and digital public services.

Strengthen European Health Union

Looking back at how Europe reacted to the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic, von der Leyen said that “Europeans have shown how strong that human spirit really is”. She praised the care workers, doctors and front line workers, who showed the power of humanity during this difficult period.

She said that the pandemic is not over, and that millions are still concerned about their health, their jobs and the future.

 

She said that Europe must continue to protect lives and livelihoods. “We must continue to handle this pandemic with extreme care, responsibility and unity.” She said that Europe must build a stronger European Health Union and strengthen the EU’s crisis preparedness and management of cross-border health threats. 

You can follow her speech below:

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