Written by Rafał Mańko.
The practice of European Commission presidents to deliver, each year in September, an EU State of the Union address, during a plenary session of the European Parliament, dates back to 2010. The address takes stock of the achievements of the past year and presents priorities for the year ahead. It is an important tool when it comes to the Commission’s ex-ante accountability vis-à-vis Parliament and is also aimed at rendering the definition of priorities at EU level more transparent and at communicating them to the public. The event chimes with similar practices in national democracies. The United States, for instance, has a long-standing tradition of presidential State of the Union addresses. In contrast to the US constitution, the EU Treaties do not prescribe a State of the Union address; the EU version was established by the 2010 Framework Agreement on relations between Parliament and the Commission.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s fourth State of the Union address, scheduled for 13 September 2023, will be the last address in this legislative mandate, ahead of the 2024 European elections. The Commission President is expected to outline the main priorities and flagship initiatives for the year to come, building on the EU’s successes and achievements of the past years. The address is to focus on ‘A stronger and more resilient European Union’ and is expected to address such issues as EU support for Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, the energy crisis, the green and digital transitions, as well protecting EU values, with particular focus on equality, inclusiveness and social fairness.
This briefing further updates an earlier one from September 2016, originally written by Eva-Maria Poptcheva.
Read the complete briefing on ‘State of the Union address, European Parliament, 2023‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.