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The New Pact on Migration — and not only

On Wednesday in Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave her first speech on the situation in the EU. In it, she has designated the intention to reform WHO and WTO and to cancel the Dublin agreement on refugees. In addition, according to the plans of the European Commission, emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere by 2030 should be reduced by 55 percent — compared with 1990. The plans are self-contained, — says the press and makes very different estimates.

The long-awaited change of course

As La Stampa notes, it is especially encouraging that it was decided to review the Dublin system:

If you look at things cynically, you can say that it took a pandemic that took hundreds of thousands of lives before Europe decided to change its course. However, it did happen. First, the economic course was changed, and yesterday brought a surprise in the form of a massive Italian aid (and not only). .... In her speech about the state of affairs in the EU, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the notorious Dublin Agreement will be canceled — and it will be replaced by a new system. It was decided to remove the burden of the independent solution of this complex (and politically insidious) problem from the countries, to which the flows of migrants arrive. And this is great news!

Brussels gives hope

European politics expert Dumitru Opritzoy notes in his article for Contributors that von der Leyen has managed to find the right words:

The European Union is caught between the consequences of the coronary crisis and the chances that the European Union's economic package promises... The decision to finance economic recovery with shared debts is as historic as the pandemic itself. And the European Commission's Green Deal and Digital Opportunity proposals have the potential to fundamentally change the lives of European citizens. With his first speech on the state of the community, Ursula von der Leyen managed to give citizens hope for economic recovery and that it will be based on greater unity and solidarity within the European Union.

Important challenges remain unaffected

The publication SME commends the performance of von der Leyen, noting that it was strikingly different from the minor speeches of her predecessor Juncker. Nevertheless, according to the publication, many questions remained open:

For example, nothing was said about the demographic concept of the future. Who is destined to implement all these ambitious plans? Von der Leyen's speech left the impression that the EU is a new project for European youth, but we shouldn't forget that Europe is an aging continent. By the way, the result of the last elections to the European Parliament was decided by votes of age voters. The topic of migration also cannot be closed with a single story about a refugee who is now studying at a prestigious medical faculty. We know that there are quite different refugees. An honest report on the situation in the EU should also include images of depopulated regions of the community, where there is not only any high-speed Internet, but there is absolute emptiness.

No fish, no meat ...

As far as geopolitical issues are concerned, von der Leyen has limited himself to very vague wording,” writes Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

She intends to reform the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization. But how, in fact? It declares the support of the population of Belarus. But what exactly is she able to offer? Her comment on the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline remains mysterious: Russia with its poisonings invariably acts on the same model — and no gas pipeline will change anything here. But even supporters of the project did not claim such a thing. Regarding Turkey, von der Leyen also confined himself to calling for de-escalation. Next week, the heads of state and government will have to decide which course they will take with regard to Ankara. A more pronounced position could well be expected from a commission with geopolitical ambitions.

What about self-criticism?

According to El Pais, von der Leyen's performance was neither brave nor innovative:

In his speech, which consisted of brief mentions of various topics, von der Leyen still managed to convey his message: the European Union will steadily pursue its main goals. For example, to implement the new Green Course. However, in spite of von der Leyen's determination, some questions were very unclear, such as the serious challenge for the EU posed by the populist movements of the UK; a very modest result of the pan-European efforts to coordinate the different phases of the pandemic; the nebulous position of the European Commission regarding the scandal about refugees. All of this deserves to be criticized and self-criticized. But we did not hear any self-criticism.

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