Sunday

28th Feb 2021

Opinion

'Renew' will ensure von der Leyen's commission delivers

  • For Renew Europe, the first 100 days is critical - it could make or break the next five years - because we want this European commission to be on the right tracks from the beginning. (Photo: European Commission)

On Wednesday (26 Novebmer), MEPs will finally cast their votes on the proposed new European Commission, headed by Ursula von der Leyen.

For Renew Europe, there will be no 'carte blanche'.

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The support of our movement will be conditional on an ambitious agenda, the implementation of a number of our priorities, the commitments that have been made to us throughout the confirmatory hearings of the new commissioners and our broader expectation of real reform and a dynamic new way of working together.

As much as we have to build strong working protocols, for Renew Europe, content and ambition will be a priority.

For us, the first 100 days is critical - it could make or break the next five years - because we want this European commission to be on the right tracks from the beginning. The hearing process showed that this parliament takes its role very seriously.

We start as we hope to continue; with determination and urgency.

Specifically, we want to see an ambitious Green New Deal, which has the stamp of the Renew group.

The Green Deal will not only be a list of regulations, it is a project for our generation, where Europe needs to show leadership and make a real difference.

Green Deal is about environment, but it's also about an economic ambition for our society and setting a new prosperity for our citizens.

Leading a digital transition will also be crucial.

European companies are already playing an important role including in the field of artificial intelligence.

However, this does not mean that Europe is at the forefront, which is where Renew Europe wants it to be. A coherent European approach would also enable us to lead the world in setting much needed standards for the safe development of Artificial Intelligence, as our citizen's demand, and create new business opportunities.

Europe needs audacity, we need dreamers and avant-gardists: people, minds, researchers, entrepreneurs, SME's and big players that interconnect in echo-systems and that have easily access to capital.

To succeed, we need ambition and I have no doubt that Margrethe Vestager, as executive vice-president, will step up to this challenge, working closely with Thierry Breton.

Digitisation

Only by building an economy that works for people, will we be able to play a major role in ensuring that the digital and climate transitions become effective.

This is why we need a strong new industrial and SME strategy, a capital markets union, which facilitates access to finance, a sustainable investment plan and an EIB as an EU climate bank.

If we ensure a common approach on fintechs and cryptocurrencies, we can make sure that the digital transition will create more opportunities than challenges.

Fighting against money laundering, strengthening the democratic accountability in our European Monetary Union, and strengthening of the international role of the euro all need to be furthered.

Defending Europe's values means securing a rule of law monitoring mechanism, deepening our security by developing a defence union, a new pact on migration and asylum and a new anti-discrimination strategy, so no one is left behind.

The outcome of the European elections means it can no longer be the case that the Commission, once elected, retreats into a silo, with the engagement dial pointed in the direction of the European Council.

In our new political context, the commission needs to integrate the political landscape, not to be paralysed, but on the contrary deliver change and put on the table ambitious initiatives.

We altogether have a responsibility. More than ever, we need a political commission also more open to European society. If we are to deliver a new Europe, here we cannot fail.

Author bio

Dacian Ciolos is leader of the Renew Europe liberal grouping in the European Parliament, and a former prime minister of Romania.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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