Earlier this week, Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, headed to Columbia University in New York City to address the World Leaders Forum. During the thought-provoking keynote address, ‘Madame President’ emphasised on the importance of transatlantic collaboration, the evolving global landscape, the climate crisis and the imperative need for responsible leadership.

President Metsola highlighted that Europe and the United States (US), “two of the world’s strongest economic blocks on the planet” need to keep stepping up.

She remarked that leadership revolves around individuals rather than institutions. “And about how the geo-political realities we now face mean we are being called upon to plot a path to a future, that is more uncertain than it was a few years ago,” Dr Metsola added.

She remarked that the United States and Europe “have many faults” and many things need improving. Despite this she believes that they stand as a bastion of liberty and freedom. “We have and must continue to take difficult decisions. Decisions like opening our doors and our markets to countries like Ukraine and Moldova or countries in the Western Balkans,” Dr Metsola said.

In her speech, she also stated that the transatlantic relationship between the US and the EU is a “vital artery” of the global economy, but their true strength lies in their shared dreams and values.

“Our next step will be defined on how we are able to remain competitive. How we can create jobs and futures with dignity, how we can push back against inflation wiping value of assets without making it impossible for young people to buy a home. How we can ensure that the digital transformation makes it easier for our companies to innovate,” Dr Metsola stated.

She highlighted the EU’s priority in introducing ‘ground-breaking’ pieces of legislation that manage to find the balance between innovation and business to flourish, keeping people safe online and setting standards “that the rest of the world will inevitably follow.” Such legislation includes that of the Chips Act along with the Digital Services and Digital Markets Acts.

Dr Metsola also addressed the importance of sustainable growth, acknowledging the pivotal role of green transition in this context. She stressed that the green transition should be human-centric, fostering innovation while addressing climate emergencies. “It must provide real incentives and safety nets for industry, and it must be ambitious enough to address the very real climate change emergency we are in. It must meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. But it must also work for people.”

Here, she pointed out the Emissions Trading System reform, implemented by the EU, which is a market-based solution incentivising companies to limit their emissions by putting a price on carbon. “We also established a carbon border tax to create a level-playing field for our companies and agreed to establish a Social Climate Fund that will aid both companies and households limit their emissions.”

Dr Metsola said that despite supply chain problems after the pandemic and challenging economic conditions, Europe is on its way to achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

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