European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen addresses European lawmakers on the inauguration of the brand new President of the United States.
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LONDON — There is a brand new worldwide order, the place competitors is fierce and a few nations “stop at nothing to gain influence,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned Wednesday.
Speaking at her annual “State of the European Union” parliamentary handle, von der Leyen described the currrent surroundings of overseas relations as “a new era of hyper-competitiveness.”
“An era of regional rivalries and major powers refocusing their attention towards each other,” she mentioned, whereas including that “recent events in Afghanistan are not the cause of this change — but they are a symptom of it.”
The withdrawal of American and allied troops from Afghanistan fueled a a lot faster-than-expected takeover of the nation by the Taliban. The entire course of and subsequent evacuation efforts have raised concerns in the EU about its dependence on the United States when it comes to defense and safety.
As such, some EU leaders have resurfaced the idea of a strategic autonomy — the concept the bloc must develop its personal defense capabilities — and a subject that von der Leyen is eager to pursue.
“Witnessing events unfold in Afghanistan was profoundly painful for all the families of fallen servicemen and servicewomen,” von der Leyen mentioned Wednesday.
“Europe can — and clearly should — be able and willing to do more on its own … What we need is the European Defense Union,” she mentioned.
The subject is prone to be in focus within the first half of 2022, when France, a eager supporter of the concept, is answerable for main the discussions on the EU-level.
The EU’s economics chief, Paolo Gentiloni, informed CNBC earlier this month that the bloc ought to step up its position on the geopolitical stage because the U.S. and different Western allies take a step again.
During her hour-long speech, von der Leyen additionally requested China to be extra concrete about its carbon neutrality plans.
The nation has pledged to be carbon impartial by 2060, however for von der Leyen this isn’t sufficient.
“The goals that President Xi has set for China are encouraging. But we call for that same leadership on setting out how China will get there. The world would be relieved if they showed they could peak emissions by mid-decade — and move away from coal at home and abroad,” von der Leyen informed lawmakers.
She mentioned that each one main economies, together with the U.S. and Japan, ought to current detailed plans towards carbon neutrality by the upcoming COP26 convention in Glasgow in November.
The EU has been main this house, presenting in July a concrete set of measures to chop greenhouse fuel emissions by not less than 55% by 2030.
This subject is changing into more and more extra vital as Europeans face greater power payments amid a pure fuel shortage and structural points. This is elevating considerations throughout the bloc as member states look forward to colder temperatures within the coming months, which may lead to even greater prices when the financial system continues to be simply resurfacing from the coronavirus pandemic.
The governments of Spain and Greece have already introduced measures to offset a few of the latest spike in power costs. While Spain launched momentary tax cuts, Greece mentioned it might spend 150 million euros ($177 million) to chop power payments for customers over the following three months.
Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, claimed final week that power costs had been going up as a result of EU’s local weather insurance policies, Politico reported.
Frans Timmermans, who leads the local weather coverage portfolio on the European Commission, mentioned Tuesday that “only about a fifth of the price increase can be attributed to CO2 prices rising.”
“The others are simply about shortages in the market,” he informed the European Parliament.
“Had we had the green deal five years earlier we would not be in this position because then we would have less dependency on fossil fuels and natural gas,” Timmermans mentioned, arguing that the fee’s local weather plan would keep away from such power worth will increase.
Among probably the most stunning bulletins on Wednesday was von der Leyen’s intention to have a “European Chips Act” — a plan to spice up manufacturing of semiconductors, however to additionally enhance analysis, design and testing capacities.
Demand for chips has outgrown provide prior to now months, which has impacted the manufacturing of many merchandise, together with vehicles, TVs and lots of different electrical home equipment. This is a priority for the EU on condition that it’s at the moment closely depending on worldwide provide chains.
“While global demand has exploded, Europe’s share across the entire value chain, from design to manufacturing capacity has shrunk. We depend on state-of-the-art chips manufactured in Asia. So this is not just a matter of our competitiveness. This is also a matter of tech sovereignty,” von der Leyen mentioned.