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EU at historic tipping point

Andrew Hammond
Published Mon, Sep 12, 2022 · 02:09 PM

EUROPEAN Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives her annual State of the Union address on Wednesday (Sep 14) amid a “crossroads” moment for the continent.

Almost 3 years into her presidency, Brussels faces a tipping point between the possibility of a brighter, new dawn versus an array of challenges both new and old, from the Ukraine conflict to the growth of Euroskepticism. For if fortune favours the EU-27, there may now be a potentially historic “window of opportunity” for the bloc to build back better in the aftermath of the pandemic, the Ukraine crisis, and indeed Brexit.

When von der Leyen took office in December 2019, she could not have foreseen the way that her presidency has unfolded, with the pandemic being the most decisive challenge of her first 2 years, before being superseded by Ukraine in 2022. Since Russia’s invasion in February, the Brussels-based club has faced into a first order crisis which could yet worsen this coming autumn and winter, from geopolitical instability through to the energy crisis that has ensued.

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