Von der Leyen's State of the Union speech largely omits global development

The war in Ukraine and Europe’s energy crisis dominated European Commission (EC) President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of the Union speech on September 14, 2022, with few mentions of global development beyond references to the EU’s Global Gateway investments in vaccine manufacturing in Africa. 

Von der Leyen briefly touched on what she characterized as the EU’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including securing 4 billion vaccine doses for Europeans and the rest of the world. She also mentioned the need for EU cooperation with other countries on global challenges like climate change and digitalization. Von der Leyen cited the success of similar efforts in global health, such as the Global Gateway investment initiative, which she announced in the 2021 State of the Union speech. She noted the initiative's capacity building in mRNA vaccine manufacturing in Rwanda and Senegal.

The speech contained far fewer policy announcements than the 2021 iteration, with the surprising omission of many issues, such as the global food security crisis, which von der Leyen only addressed in response to questions from the Members of the European Parliament following the speech.

Speech - European Commission

News article - Euractiv

News article - Politico