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Ursula von der Leyen's ambitious State of the Union speech

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, with the view from Europe:

How did President Ursula von der Leyen's first State of the Union address go?

Well, rather well, I thought. She was very strong on the health and the global health issues, needless to say, but also on the necessary green and the digital transition of Europe and the enormous amount of money that will be available to that. She was more ambitious on the climate target than has been the case so far and also stressed the competitiveness of the European economy long-term. I think she will get fairly high remarks for that speech.

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The EU's big plan to save itself

Facing the biggest economic crisis in the EU's history, the European Commission's president, Ursula von der Leyen, pulled out all the stops this week, unveiling an unprecedented plan to boost the union's post-coronavirus recovery.

The plan: The EU would go to international capital markets to raise 750 billion euros ($830 billion). 500 billion of that would be given to member states as grants to fund economic recovery over the next seven years; the remainder would be issued as loans to be paid back to Brussels. The EU would pay back its bondholders for the full 750 billion plus interest by 2058, in part by raising new EU-wide taxes on tech companies and emissions.

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