SOTEU | Not another wishlist: Europe’s foundations are giving way!

Volt Europa and Damian Boeselager raise concerns ahead of State of the Union Address.

To tackle today’s crises we expect more from an EU President: we need a quality check of our foundations to ensure the EU can deliver.

A stronger European democracy and a more humane migration system are desperately needed.

Sep 12, 2023

September 12, 2023, Europe - As Ursula von der Leyen takes the stage to deliver her annual State of the European Union Speech tomorrow, Volt Europa and Damian Boeselager wonder whether it will be a sincere reflection of Europe’s reality or just another wish-list? Were the promises she made to the European Parliament in 2019 kept? 

Damian Boeselager, Volt MEP:

  • “The truth is: vdL couldn’t fix the huge cracks that are appearing everywhere! Orban undermines elections and Ukraine aid, the PiS party throws their justice system under the bus.”

  • “To fix Europe - and also to get ready for Ukraine and Moldova - we need treaty change! It’s high time vdL takes the lead for more fundamental reform!”

  • “It makes little sense to add additional floors to a building, when at the same time the foundations are giving way. She should address our mold problem…” 

  • “A Green New Deal is great! But let’s not forget who we are dealing with.

Over her four years as the head architect of Europe's future, President von der Leyen promised prosperity, security, and well-being for all. However, as we evaluate her tenure, we find signs of strain as the house of promises she built begins to crumble. 

The Cracks in the Foundation 

To create a European Powerhouse that can tackle today's challenges, a robust, citizen-driven democracy is essential. Unfortunately, Ursula von der Leyen's team fell short in strengthening EU democracy. The European Parliament's Right of Initiative remained unimplemented, the voices of citizens from the Conference on the Future of Europe are still being ignored, majority decisions on foreign policy are nowhere to be seen, and Treaty Change is not yet triggered. If the foundation cracks, the beauty of the rest of the house does not matter.

The shabby doors

The pact on asylum is old wine in new bottles. The proposals do not provide real solutions needed to build a fair, efficient and humane asylum system in the EU. The new laws will unlikely address migratory challenges that Europe is facing. Rather the approach is diminishing in humanity, following the same mass detention and suffering policy EU governments took up some years ago. Instead of standing strong against national violations of EU law and the ongoing failure to enforce the rule of law, the Commission has reduced its role to a service-provider.   

The Green Roof 

Within the expansive EU house, the European Green Deal resembles a 'green roof' filled with promise—a swift action plan that endured the challenges of the pandemic. While proposals related to climate neutrality, circular economy, sustainable investment, and biodiversity strategies are abundant, their effective implementation lags behind. It's a reminder that a house with weak foundations will still crumble under the weight of a strong and solid roof like the Green Deal.

Check out the rest of the “EU house” here

"President von der Leyen's failed promises reflect a lack of ambition and vision for a truly united European Union that thrives together and leads the global challenges we are facing. Tomorrow, as the State of the European Union speech unfolds, Volt Europa is poised to be the catalyst for change. We embody a Europe of action, not just rhetoric—a Europe where citizens' aspirations for a greener, fairer, and more inclusive future take centre stage.”, said Francesca Romana D'Antuono, President of Volt Europa 

The European citizens who had placed their trust in von der Leyen's vision for a more united and prosperous EU now find themselves living in a house with a cracked foundation, shaky walls and broken windows. They deserve better than this half-hearted construction.

It's time to renovate the house Ursula von der Leyen built and make it a home where every European finds prosperity, justice, and hope. 

For interview requests and further information, please contact:

Joachim Wilke
Head of Office/ Policy Advisor EU Reform - Damian Boeselager, MEP
[email protected]

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