Ursula von der Leyen: First Keynote Address as Commission President

In the opinion of the future President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, Europe must act more energetically in the world.


"Europe must also learn the language of power," she said in Berlin in a European speech to the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. "On the one hand, that means building one's own muscles where we could rely on others for a long time – for example in security policy," said the former German Minister of Defense. "On the other hand, to use the existing force in a more targeted manner where European interests are concerned."


"We can influence the conditions to which we do business"

 As an example of the Leyen called the trade policy. China is an important trading partner for Europe. But conversely, the EU is Beijing's largest trading partner. "We can influence the conditions we do business with," von der Leyen said. This is already happening. So you look forward to any foreign company that participates in tenders in the EU, be it for the construction of highways or power lines. "But in the future, we will pay more attention to ensuring that these companies adhere to our standards, such as working conditions and environmental regulations."


From the Leyen, Europe called to reflect on its strengths. There is no reason for despondency. "Europe is more attractive today than we often know or at least talk about." Europe may get older and less in terms of its population. "But we have something that is invaluable: the rule of law, freedom, democracy, openness to many lifestyles – that's not what young people in China or Russia think."


Extension Perspective Western Balkans


The new Commission President spoke in favor of a "strategic enlargement policy". "The Western Balkans have a European perspective is in our own best interests, sharing the same history, the same continent, sharing the same culture and challenges." With North Macedonia and Albania accession talks would have to begin. Both countries have fulfilled all requirements. "If we Europeans do not give perspective to the Western Balkans on our side, then others will come into this gap, whether China or Russia, Turkey or Saudi Arabia," warned von der Leyen.

 Von der Leyen will start her duties as Commission President on 1 December.

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