EU embarrassment: Von der Leyen blasted for ‘wishy washy’ State of the Union speech

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In what was the senior diplomat’s first State of the Union speech, Mrs von der Leyen set out a number of key issues she said she wanted the EU to tackle going forward. These included climate change, coronavirus, and Brexit – of which she said “very little time” remains.

However, many observers took to social media to blast Mrs von der Leyen’s speech.

Some hit out at the EU Council President’s use of the word ‘we’ when referring to all of Europe.

One said: “Who is ‘we’? Do they all agree on it? Do they all want the same thing? Not sure!”

Another said: “More bull**** and wishy washy words. Stomach churning with not an ounce of substance.”

One wrote: “Even if I disagree with what you say, I can’t vote your out of power because the EU power structure is fundamentally undemocratic.

“You did not campaign in all EU countries to propose your ‘vision’/policies. To do it now and call it your State of the Union is preposterous.”

Touching on coronavirus, the European Commission president said now is the time for Europe to “lead the way” to “a new vitality.”

She called for a “stronger European Health Union” as well as an improved system for crisis response.

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Ms von der Leyen added: “We turned fear and division between member states into confidence in our union. We showed what is possible when the trust each other.”

She also provided details into the ‘European Green Deal’, under which the EU will aim to reduce its emissions by over 50 percent by 2030 – less than ten years away.

The commission president also hit out at the UK in her address, after ministers backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s controversial Internal Markets Bill earlier this week.

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The bill could allow the UK to rewrite parts of the withdrawal agreement it signed with the EU at the start of the year.

Ms Von Der Leyen said the agreement “cannot be unilaterally changed, disregarded or dis-applied. This is a matter of law, trust and good faith.”

On migration, the leader encouraged EU member states to “make compromises”, adding: “We will take a human and humane approach. Saving lives at sea is not optional.

The commission president concluded: “The future will be what we make it. And Europe will be what we want it to be. So let’s stop talking it down.”

Meanwhile, US presidential hopeful and Democratic nominee Joe Biden has waded into the Brexit discussions publicly.

On Twitter, he insisted the UK maintain the Good Friday Agreement after Brexit, suggesting a trade deal with the US could be threatened if this does not happen.

Mr Biden wrote: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.

“Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

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