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Remarks by President Charles Michel at his press conference "Taking stock of the past year and looking forward to future challenges"

Remarks given recently (04 December 2020) by President Charles Michel at his press conference "Taking stock of the past year and looking forward to future challenges".

One year in office! A good time to look back at the past year. And look forward to the challenges ahead.

This year has been unlike any other.  In fact, beyond any of our imaginations.

The pandemic has demanded much of our efforts. But not all of our efforts. We tackled many pressing issues facing our Union. And most importantly, we acted with coherence and unity on the big issues. And this is my goal for 2021.

We started big. Last December, we took the landmark decision to become the first carbon neutral continent by 2050. We signed our “peace treaty” with nature. This decision created the political space for our European Green Deal – the powerful engine which will drive forward our transformation.

On the digital front. We endorsed in September our European Digital Roadmap. A milestone for our digital future.

Just a few digital highlights from 2020:

  • 20% of our Recovery Fund will go to digital investment.
  • We are investing in the power of industrial data. And promoting common EU data spaces.
  • We are boosting our digital infrastructure, especially a new generation of European microprocessors and supercomputers.
  • The Digital Services Act will promote greater responsibility from online platforms.

After some hesitation, we took rapid action against an unprecedented crisis. We took measures to protect our economies and safeguard livelihoods: budgetary and monetary policy; escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact; relaxing state aid rules. And of course, who can forget, our historic deal in July on the MFF and Recovery Fund.

We also battled Covid on the sanitary front with our vaccine strategy. We led global efforts to raise nearly 16 billion euros to finance vaccine research. And the Commission has secured a successful portfolio of vaccines.


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