Commission President von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech 2021: key digital takeaways


On Wednesday, 15 September 2021, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, delivered her annual State of the Union during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

In her speech, President von der Leyen focused on the main achievements of the Commission over the last year. She addressed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the published initiatives to make the EU greener, more digital, and fairer.

With regards to digital, the Commission President stressed the importance of the Single Market as the key to jobs and competitiveness. In this context, she highlighted the proposals published over the past year and that are now under negotiation in the Council and in the Parliament. In particular, she referred to the initiatives to regulate digital markets’ gatekeepers (Digital Markets Act), platform services (Digital Services Act) and new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (Artificial Intelligence Act). She stated that “digital is the make-or-break issue” and digital spending in NextGenerationEU will exceed the 20% target. In this light, the Commission would invest in digital skills and in tech sovereignty to make the EU competitive in the global market.

Ahead of the plenary, President von der Leyen sent a Letter of Intent to the European Parliament President, David Sassoli, and to the Council of the EU President, Janez Janša, presenting the upcoming Commission’s proposals for 2022. As part of the Green Deal’s initiatives, the Commission would publish proposals, for instance, on the right to repair and on an EU framework for harmonised measurement of transport and logistics emissions. Moreover, the letter lists initiatives on improving the provision of digital skills, on the review of competition policy, on instant payments and on the implementation of the OECD global tax agreement.

The official programme of the Commission for 2022 is expected to be published on 19 September.