NFU News

NFU Press Release: State of the European Union (SOTEU) address 2023 – 90% of political agenda achieved

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has delivered her fourth State of the European Union (SOTEU) address on 13 September 2023. While not directly revealing her plan to stay another term the speech was a campaign speech. Assertively, she took credit for the achievement of a political agenda, aside and on top of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis management and the coordination of the EU response to the Russian war of aggression.

Carin Hallerström, NFU General Secretary summarizes the tone and content of this year’s SOTEU as follows:

This European Commission has indeed a strong record to defend, not least because of the unexpected challenges such as war, gas price turmoil and pandemic, which were added to the EC’s already politically ambitious agenda of a European Green Deal.

The parliamentary debate following the speech has however shown that the European Green Deal is in deep trouble. Critical and even hateful remarks on the European Green Deal and former Executive Vice President of the European Union Commission responsible for climate policy show that the implementation of the decarbonisation of our European societies may provide for even greater challenges than the legislative process during this legislative mandate.

For the finance industry employees in the Nordic countries, NFU’s Carin Hallerström describes the situation as clear:

The legislative tool-kit unleashed by this Commission and enacted by the European legislator during this mandate, such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, the Corporate Due Diligence Directive, the EU Taxonomy Regulation and all their dependent delegated acts will enable finance employees to deliver climate transition through the market if concluded and implemented effectively.

While NFU missed the mentioning of the Capital Markets Union, as one of the responses to the US Inflation Reduction Act as well as the reshaping of fiscal economic governance, NFU does receive the welcome news that the European Commission will convene a social dialogue summit at Val Duchesse during next semester’s Belge presidency. While NFU believes that Member States are generally the more appropriate forum for social dialogue, NFU does agree that social incohesion on EU level needs to be addressed by social partners, as inflation remains high within Europe and the EU and economic uncertainty is a main driver of societal discontent and radicalisation.

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