Innovation, Green Deal and Raw Materials highlighted at SOTEU

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen addressed the role of innovation in the Green Transition, as well as the topic of Critical Raw Materials (CRM), amongst other topics, at her speech at this year's State of the Union (SOTEU), highlighting the importance of these science-policy related topics for the EU.
Marton Kottmayer,

The annual State of the Union (SOTEU) address was held in Strasbourg, on 13 September this year. During SOTEU, the President of the European Commission addresses the members of the European Parliament at its plenary session, to summarise the achievements of the previous year, as well as outline the future priorities for the EU. The 2023 SOTEU was the last one before the end of this parliamentary term, as the European Elections will be held in June 2024.

In her address, von der Leyen used a recurring metaphor, relying on the important uses of historical parallels in politics: she stated that during the recent years – facing the crises of COVID, the war in Ukraine and global warming – Europe is answering the “calls of history”.

According to her, one of such calls, climate change, is being addressed in a never before seen capacity by the European Green deal. She highlighted that it is propelled by innovators, and made commitments for industrial competitiveness in the Green Deal framework, mentioning initiatives such as the Net Zero Industry Act. The Green Deal is not alien for EuChemS either, as two of the major policy stakeholder groups of which it is a member of are related to the Green Deal Framework.

In order to address other challenges, she also emphasized the importance of the strategic independence of the union. She stated that access to critical raw materials is crucial for this independence, and announced the first meeting of the “Critical Raw Materials Club”, to be held later this year. Critical Raw Materials are closely linked with the concept of Element Scarcity, which is the key focus of the EuChemS Periodic Table.

Her speech, which can be read fully here, also involved a wide range of other topics, such as labour shortages, immigration, competition with China, AI policy and more. The address was followed by the reactions of major EP parties, the Spanish presidency, and MEPs.

Know more about