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If a week is long in politics, a year can seem like an eternity.
Ursula von der Leyen’s third State of the Union address departed both in tone and content from her previous annual addresses, which focused on the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis she has created.
“They say the light shines brightest in the dark,” von der Leyen told members of the European Parliament, underscoring the solidarity Europe’s citizens have shown with their neighbors to the east.
But with nearly two years in office, the President of the Commission has also extensively addressed other topics, including protecting democracy, transitioning to a net-zero economy, securing critical raw minerals and harmonizing rules. taxes for small businesses.
She was also careful to avoid criticism from previous years that she paid too little attention to European French speakers. This year’s address was scrupulously fair for German and French, with sections in both running at the same time (although the general discourse was heavily Anglophone).
POLITICO’s number crunchers have turned our attention to analyzing von der Leyen’s script – and what his words tell us about his shifting priorities.
With Ukraine at the forefront, the tone of the speech was darker than in previous years. The single word “war” was mentioned 16 times. Compared to last year’s speech, von der Leyen had little time for other policy areas such as health and technology, while terms around issues of the economy, energy and fossil resources figured in good place.
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