Status: 15.09.2021 11:02 a.m.
EU Commission President von der Leyen has announced that the EU will now donate a total of 450 million doses of corona vaccine to poorer countries. In addition, it proclaimed a “Year of European Youth” for 2022.
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has recognized the management of the corona pandemic in the EU as a success – but at the same time called for further efforts. With more than 70 percent fully vaccinated among the adult population, the EU is among the world’s leaders, despite all the critics, said von der Leyen in her State of the European Union address.
At the same time, she warned that the vaccination campaign must continue to pick up speed in Europe. Otherwise a “pandemic of the unvaccinated” threatens. “Corona times are not over,” said von der Leyen. “A pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint.”
“Investing in Global Health”
With regard to the vaccination quotas, the EU Commission President referred to global injustice. The priority must be to accelerate vaccination worldwide. The extent of injustice is obvious. The German politician announced that the EU would donate another 200 million vaccine doses by mid-2022. The EU has thus almost doubled its donation pledges to a total of 450 million vaccine doses. Von der Leyen spoke of an “investment in solidarity and an investment in global health”.
She called the fight against the corona pandemic “one of the great geopolitical questions of our time”. Von der Leyen emphasized that so far “less than one percent of the doses worldwide have been administered in low-income countries”. The President of the Commission also pointed out that the EU is investing one billion euros in promoting vaccine production in Africa.
In order to ensure that a virus no longer becomes a pandemic in the future, von der Leyen proposed investing 50 billion euros in health care across the EU over the next six years.
Appreciation for European youth
In addition, von der Leyen announced that 2022 would be a “Year of European Youth”. The aim was to appreciate the young people who would have sacrificed a lot to protect others during the corona pandemic. Young people should also play a key role in the Conference on the Future of Europe, which started work in June. At the conference, politicians and citizens should work out concrete proposals by spring 2022. Von der Leyen assured that the EU Commission would take these proposals seriously.
The EU Commission wants to set up a new exchange program called “Alma” for young people who have neither found an apprenticeship nor a job. “Alma will give these young people the opportunity to gain temporary work experience in another member state,” said von der Leyen. These youngsters deserved an experience of what students could do under the Erasmus exchange program.
Von der Leyen also pledged a further 100 million euros in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. The EU wants to prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the country. According to her, the additional funds are part of a comprehensive EU aid package to be presented in the coming weeks. Previously, the EU had already promised aid of 200 million euros for Afghanistan for the current year.
Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the European Union address
Stephan Ueberbach, ARD Strasbourg, September 15, 2021 11:27 a.m.