MEP Kaljurand: I expected more self-criticism from von der Leyen's speech

Marina Kaljurand.
Marina Kaljurand. Source: ERR

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave her first State of the Union speech on Wednesday. However, Member of the European Parliament, Marina Kaljurand (SDE) said she expected more self-criticism of the commission and the union in her speech.

The speech, made in front of the European Parliament, was diverse, as expected. Von der Leyen spoke in English, French and German in a speech twice as long as planned, ETV current news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported on Wednesday.

Her main message was fragility, which for her expresses itself through climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis.

"The virus that is a thousand times smaller than a sand grain showed how fragile life can be. It showed how stressed our health care systems were and how limited the model that values wealth more than welfare is. It showed us how fragile the system of our mutual values is. And how quickly these values can be questioned both around the world and here, in the European Union," von der Leyen said.

AK spoke to Estonia's members of the European Parliament to see what they thought of the speech.

Marina Kaljurand said: "I wanted to hear more self-criticism, because the speech started with the commission president praising everything the commission has done so far. But let's go back six months where chaos was in power in the EU."

Andrus Ansip (Reform), a former Estonian prime minister and former Vice-President of the European Commission, said: "It is surprising that the strongest part of the speech was the foreign policy part, for me. It seemed like an Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian or someone from the Middle-Europe was speaking. Our sense of danger and the values were all covered in the speech."

Von der Leyen had warned of too close relations with the Russian Federation, which included criticisms of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Yana Toom (Center) said: "The main aspect that warms my heart is this strong social agenda that Ms von der Leyen is standing for. She said clearly what she is working towards, and I know they are working on a minimum European wage. She [also] criticized Donald Trump several times."

Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) MEP Jaak Madison, also had a nod towards von der Leyen's approach, though qualified that in his estimate of its likely success.

"Ursula von der Leyen will do everything to undermine the so-called future strategy, which wants to federalize and centralize European Union politics. It can be predicted [however] that when you have failed in politics, in your positions, you will fail again now."


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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