“It is possible” – Ursula von der Leyen shows European leadership

The powerful State of the Union speech delivered by Ursula von der Leyen called upon European unity, common values and the need to transition to a low-carbon economy of wellbeing. CEC European Managers welcomes the President’s ambition and EU action plan to become a leader in the transition. The new EU investment and crisis programmes are a step in the right direction. Importantly, we have to invest in the know-how needed in the transition, in particular by managers, as our report on a sustainability skill gap has shown.

In her first State of the Union speech, Ursula von der Leyen has, while acknowledging historic challenges, drawn a roadmap towards a stronger Europe. Besides a stronger European Health Union,  she announced the emission reduction of 55% until 2030 and an unprecedented digital action plan. Von der Leyen also gave details on the new 750 billion Euro strong Next Generation EU programme to support the European recovery, for instance that 20% will flow into building digital Europe. The EU had already adopted emergency measures against unemployment (SURE) and for economic stabilisation (ESM). As highlighted in its “Leadership in times of Coronavirus” report, managers seem to insist on linking investments and subsidies to public utility and long-term economic opportunities.

“This is a historic opportunity for the EU to invest in lasting change. It’s a unique chance to build a new model built on ecology, social cohesion and sustainable economies. To make it a success, we need to strengthen capacities, also of managers, in a bottom-up manner” comments Maxime Legrand, Secretary General of CEC European Managers

The Commission President has in many ways shown leadership by highlighting the values, vision and mission of the European Union: from restoring the values enshrined in the four freedoms, over the vision of a circular and fair economy to the EU’s role in boosting health, fostering sustainable investments and safeguarding human and social rights. For instance, she mentioned a “European Bauhaus” co-creation space to transform urbanism and housing sustainably, under the framework of the Next Generation EU programme.

With its EU project on Sustainable Leadership and its concrete support to managers in the digital transformation, CEC contributes its share in shaping the recovery in the world of management. As a European social partner, CEC also points at the benefits of strengthening social dialogue structures at all levels. More than ever, social partners have to become innovative shapers of the transition.

Please find the speech below: