LONDON — There’s a new worldwide order, the place competitors is fierce and a few nations “cease at nothing to realize affect,” European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen stated Wednesday.
Talking at her annual “State of the European Union” parliamentary tackle, von der Leyen described the currrent setting of international relations as “a brand new period of hyper-competitiveness.”
“An period of regional rivalries and main powers refocusing their consideration in direction of one another,” she stated, whereas including that “current occasions in Afghanistan aren’t the reason for this modification — however they’re a symptom of it.”
The withdrawal of American and allied troops from Afghanistan fueled a a lot faster-than-expected takeover of the nation by the Taliban. The entire course of and subsequent evacuation efforts have raised considerations within the EU about its dependence on the US when it comes to protection and safety.
As such, some EU leaders have resurfaced the idea of a strategic autonomy — the concept the bloc must develop its personal protection capabilities — and a subject that von der Leyen is eager to pursue.
“Witnessing occasions unfold in Afghanistan was profoundly painful for all of the households of fallen servicemen and servicewomen,” von der Leyen stated Wednesday.
“Europe can — and clearly ought to — have the option and prepared to do extra by itself … What we want is the European Protection Union,” she stated.
The subject is prone to be in focus within the first half of 2022, when France, a eager supporter of the thought, is accountable for main the discussions on the EU-level.
The EU’s economics chief, Paolo Gentiloni, advised CNBC earlier this month that the bloc ought to step up its position on the geopolitical stage because the U.S. and different Western allies take a step again.
China’s Local weather Plan
Throughout her hour-long speech, von der Leyen additionally requested China to be extra concrete about its carbon neutrality plans.
The nation has pledged to be carbon impartial by 2060, however for von der Leyen this isn’t sufficient.
“The targets that President Xi has set for China are encouraging. However we name for that very same management on setting out how China will get there. The world can be relieved in the event that they confirmed they may peak emissions by mid-decade — and transfer away from coal at house and overseas,” von der Leyen advised lawmakers.
She stated that each one main economies, together with the U.S. and Japan, ought to current detailed plans towards carbon neutrality by the upcoming COP26 convention in Glasgow in November.
The EU has been main this area, presenting in July a concrete set of measures to chop greenhouse gasoline emissions by at the least 55% by 2030.
This matter is turning into more and more extra vital as Europeans face increased vitality payments amid a pure gasoline scarcity and structural points. That is elevating considerations throughout the bloc as member states sit up for colder temperatures within the coming months, which might lead to even increased prices when the economic system remains to be simply resurfacing from the coronavirus pandemic.
The governments of Spain and Greece have already introduced measures to offset a number of the current spike in vitality costs. Whereas Spain launched non permanent tax cuts, Greece stated it will spend 150 million euros ($177 million) to chop vitality payments for shoppers over the following three months.
Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, claimed final week that vitality costs had been going up as a result of EU’s local weather insurance policies, Politico reported.
Frans Timmermans, who leads the local weather coverage portfolio on the European Fee, stated Tuesday that “solely a couple of fifth of the value improve may be attributed to CO2 costs rising.”
“The others are merely about shortages available in the market,” he advised the European Parliament.
“Had we had the inexperienced deal 5 years earlier we’d not be on this place as a result of then we’d have much less dependency on fossil fuels and pure gasoline,” Timmermans stated, arguing that the fee’s local weather plan would keep away from such vitality value will increase.
Rising chip manufacturing
Among the many most stunning bulletins on Wednesday was von der Leyen’s intention to have a “European Chips Act” — a plan to spice up manufacturing of semiconductors, however to additionally enhance analysis, design and testing capacities.
Demand for chips has outgrown provide up to now months, which has impacted the manufacturing of many merchandise, together with vehicles, TVs and lots of different electrical home equipment. This can be a concern for the EU on condition that it’s at the moment closely depending on worldwide provide chains.
“Whereas international demand has exploded, Europe’s share throughout all the worth chain, from design to manufacturing capability has shrunk. We rely on state-of-the-art chips manufactured in Asia. So this isn’t only a matter of our competitiveness. That is additionally a matter of tech sovereignty,” von der Leyen stated.