February 07, 2020
Ursula von der Leyen – The new face at the head of the European Union
The new European Commission took office on 1 December 2019 With 15 male und 12 female commissioners. The current Commission has the largest ever composition of female members. Additionally, for the first time in the history of the Commission, it is being headed by a female: Ursula von der Leyen was confirmed by the European Parlament as president of the Commission. She was previously the German defense minister and previous to that, the family minister and subsequent to that, the minister for labor and social issues.
Ms. Von der Leyen outlined her political vision for the EU as „a Union that seeks to do more“: „Europe must lead in the transition to a healthy planet and a new digital world. This can only be achived if we bring people together and improve our unique social market economy to adjust to our current new goals and ambitions“.
The European Green Deal is amongst the priorities of the new EU Commission, which is the most urgent and at the same time, the most controversal. The goal of the Green Deal is to make the EU climate neutral by the year 2050. ´The Deal entails a number of proposals among them, a new European climate regulation, which would codify the goal of reaching Co2 neutrality by the year 2050. The goal of reducing the carbon dioxide emmission by 55 percent by 2030 was also emphasized in the outline.
Additional proposals include the expansion of the emmission certificate trading system to include maritime and the construction industries. On the other hand, the proposal envions the reduction of the number of free emission certificates designation for the airline industry.
A revision of the energy tax directive should contribute to supporting the use of sustainable energy. Furthermore, a corbon dioxide border tax should be introduced, in order to level the competitive playing field for european companies and prevent carbon leakage.
The ouline underscores the intention to invest record sums of money for research, innovation and digitalization in order to prepare Europe for the digital age. This should be possible through the current european grant program Horizon Europe as well as through the mobilization of private investments.
In addition, the new EU Commissioner hopes for a strong european voice in the world. To that extent, decision making through a simple majority in foreign and security policies should be introduced in oder to increase european influence. The goal is to advance the european defense union, strenghen european values and standards in free trade agreements as well as to continue to be actively engaged in the efforts to reform the World Trade Organization (WTO).