Ursula von der Leyen’s first ‘State of the Union’ speech is an opportunity for her to reassert her political agenda under the conditions of COVID-19 and to set the tone for her four remaining years in office. The summit agreement in July on a recovery strategy was perceived as a leap forward for the EU but fell short of von der Leyen’s ambitions. Fault lines between member states are deepening, and interinstitutional cooperation is on the wane. This is a make-or-break moment for the Commission President.
The coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting severe economic disruptions, can only be effectively tackled with a European and global response. The degree of integration and interdependence between member states – economically, politically and socially – means that in dealing with the virus and its economic effects, the EU is only as strong as its weakest part. Governments have to devise a more forward-looking, collective response. Hesitation and the failure to tackle the problem collectively will increase the losses – in terms of lives, economic wellbeing, political stability and EU unity.
European Union, Economy, Political stability, Coronavirus, COVID-19, and Health Crisis
The Communist Party of China (CPC) plans for China to achieve effective global dominance by 2049. It is using the major global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to secure strategic advantage through propaganda and disinformation, assertive, sometimes aggressive diplomacy, pursuing targeted investments, and offering “health cooperation.” The CPC has long targeted European business and political elites to build constituencies of support. Europe must counter by building robust societies based on core democratic values.
Foreign Policy, COVID-19, Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and Health Crisis