UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The new EU leadership took office on Sunday, one month behind schedule, pledging to strengthen Europe’s unity and its readiness to face major challenges, especially climate change.
A brief ceremony was held at the head of the European Commission by German President Ursula von der Leyen, with the participation of European Council President Charles Michel, who in turn took office on Sunday.
The new EU leadership comes at a critical time for the bloc, which is facing major difficulties, particularly in the Brexit dossier and mounting tension with China and the United States.
Speaking in the presence of European Parliament President David Sassoli and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, Von Der Layen said EU officials should assume their major responsibilities as custodians of the bloc’s treaties.
“It is a responsibility to the European people, to the founding parents, and to our children,” she said.
“It is our duty to give the Union stronger than we have received … a continent in peace that protects rights and freedoms (and) a single market that offers unprecedented economic opportunities,” said von der Leyen, the first woman to hold the post.
Lagarde, who took over the presidency of the European Central Bank last month, said the bloc had only recently concluded the debt crisis and should look to the future.
“Huge challenges lie ahead, but I hope that we will go from this era of reforms to the era of renewal and hope,” she said.
Von de Leyen, who succeeded veteran Jean-Claude Juncker, formed a team of 27 commissioners on Sunday, aiming to make Europe a world leader in environmental conservation.
Sassoli said the European Parliament would hold an emergency session on December 11 on the eve of a summit of EU leaders to receive the Commission’s initial proposals on climate change, entitled “The New Green Agreement.”
On Monday, Von der Layne, on her first visit as president of the European Commission, will travel to Madrid to attend the meeting of the COP25 climate change conference, which she described as a “starting point” for her new projects.
On her first trip outside the European Union, the president of the European Commission will visit Ethiopia on Friday to meet Prime Minister Abyei Ahmed, who won the Nobel Peace Prize this year, as well as African Union Commission President Moussa Faki.
– “Many achievements?” – Hey.
Sunday’s ceremony was held at the Museum of European History on the tenth anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty, which changed the architecture of European institutions, especially through the creation of the post of President of the Council of Europe.
“The Europeans want a lot of achievements and they are right,” said the president of the Council of Europe, which coordinates EU leaders’ summits where major decisions are made.
Although European lawmakers on Wednesday approved her appointment by a large majority, doubts remain over how much support they have to implement their projects, which include tightening restrictions on the high-tech sector and approving an EU budget.
Her predecessor, Juncker, faced emergency problems during his five-year tenure, including a crisis of migrant flows to the European Union in 2015 that showed a big split between East and West, particularly by Hungary and Poland’s refusal to open doors to immigrants.
Greece’s crisis has also dominated Juncker’s state, particularly fears of its exit from the bloc, followed by a referendum on Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States and imposing high tariffs on Europe in 2017.
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