On Wednesday, 13 September, MEP Irena Joveva took part in a discussion entitled “A strong and resilient EU in response to the challenges of the future”, organised on the occasion of the final State of the Union address during this term of office – SOTEU 2023 – given by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.  In her reaction, MEP Joveva assessed that the President’s speech was mostly a review of past achievements, yet that certain elements were missing, including in the areas of health, migration and the rule of law. Referring to the Green Deal, the MEP observed that a lot has been achieved with the Fit for 55 package, and emphasised von der Leyen’s subtle but clear message that nature restoration is urgent.

Joveva initially pointed out that looking back on accomplishments of the current term is not necessarily a bad thing to do in a speech, yet she found the vision as outlined by the Commission lacking exactly that – vision and details.

“As a member of the younger generation, I missed the mention of young people in the speech. True, the President said that young people hope for a better future, but we all know that,” she said. Moreover, the healthcare sector was not given adequate consideration, particularly in light of the beneficial measures implemented after the pandemic and the establishment of the Health Union. Moreover, in Joveva’s view, migration was only mentioned in passing, alluding to the urgency of adopting a pact on migration and asylum, even though it is she, as President of the European Commission, who can talk to Member State government representatives, especially those who have been blocking this legislation all along.

By contrast, MEP Joveva praised the fact that Commission President had accentuated the environment and the implementation of the Green Deal.

“A lot has been done with the Fit for 55 package, and she mentioned the nature conservation legislation that was adopted by the Parliament,” she said. She addressed it in German, presumably not by chance. Perhaps also because the President of the European People’s Party is German and leads the party that has had a great deal of dissent concerning this legislation.”

When asked about unity and cooperation, Joveva responded that these are absolutely essential and welcome, yet will be more and more difficult to achieve as the elections draw closer and certain politicians resort to more and more political game playing.

“The speech was not visionary enough, at least in the areas where this is necessary. At the same time, I hope that the enhanced dialogues that were announced and mentioned become a reality. It is my sincere wish that everything she said comes to fruition and does not remain just talk.”

You can watch the speech by the President of the European Commission and MEP Joveva’s contribution to the debate HERE.

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