In her State of the Union address on 16 September 2020, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen presented her vision for a Europe that emerges stronger from the pandemic and leads the way towards a new vitality. She set out the priorities the Commission intends to pursue in the coming year and outlined how NextGenerationEU will contribute to enable Europe to become green, digital and more resilient. The European Commission will focus on:
- Protecting lives and livelihoods in Europe, the health of its citizens and the stability of its economy;
- Reinforcing the building blocks of the European Green Deal and raising its ambitions;
- Leading the digital transformation, particularly on data, technology and infrastructure;
- Making the most of its single market;
- Continuing to rally global response as the world awaits an accessible, affordable and safe vaccine against COVID-19;
- Responding more assertively to global events and deepening its relations with EU’s closest neighbours and global partners;
- Taking a new approach to migration, remaining vigilant on the rule of law and building a union where racism and discrimination have no place.
In her speech, Von der Leyen announced that 37% of NextGenerationEU will be spent directly on the European Green Deal objectives aiming to kickstart a European renovation wave and make the EU a leader in the circular economy. She added that “this is not just an environmental or economic project: it needs to be a new cultural project for Europe”.
In addition, she presented her plan to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This level of ambition for the next decade will put the EU on a balanced pathway to reaching climate neutrality by 2050.