State of the union 2020

On September 16th 2020, European Commission Ursula Von Leyen presented the commission’s vision for the future. Under the “NextGenerationEU” program, she emphasised the necessity from Europe to become increasingly green, digital and resilient.  The discourse insisted on the complexity of the current situation caused by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Ms Van Der Leyen states “is not over. And the recovery is still in its early stage.” 

Amongst the initial points raised, it is stated that the EU needs to strengthen its crisis preparedness and management of cross-border health threats. Security was high on the agenda and protecting the lives and livelihoods of European citizens is perceived as a key priority.

Furthermore, Ms Von Der Leyen insisted on the necessity to shift to a greener Europe. Concretely, this means that 37% of the overall 750 Billion€ NextGenerationEU budget would be allocated to reaching Green Deal objectives. By 2030 the EU pledges to reduce its emissions by 55% and become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

In addition, was emphasised the need for a common plan for digital Europe with clearly defined goals for 2030, such as for connectivity, skills and digital public services. These developements should be based on clear principles: the right to privacy and connectivity, freedom of speech, free flow of data and cybersecurity.

The discourse also mentioned the establishment of common data spaces - for example, in the energy or healthcare sectors. This will support innovation ecosystems in which universities, companies and researchers can access and collaborate on data. This will take form as a European Data cloud which will be created.

Finally, the discourse emphasised the importance of investing in new technologies, namely Artificial Intelligence. It was noted that this progress should be based on clear regulations regarding how AI data is collected, processed and stored.

 The full "State of the Union 2020" document is available here.