As every year, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, gave her State of the Union address, outlining flagship initiatives which the European Commission plans to undertake in the coming year. Many of them are a response to the recommendations citizens made through the Conference on the Future of Europe, to which the EFN also provided input to.
These flagships initiatives include:
- Continuous support to Ukraine and its people, including the full mobilisation of the EU’s Single Market;
- Measures aimed at weathering the energy crisis;
- Support to the business environment, particularly small and medium enterprises;
- Addressing the EU’s dependency on Russian fossil fuels;
- Investing further in renewable energy, and in hydrogen in particular;
- Leading globally on climate adaptation and nature protection;
- Defending democracy and the rule of law, internally and across the world.
In her speech towards the European Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen also stressed the importance of education and upskilling as well as the need to facilitate the recognition of qualifications – a key issue for the nurses and the nursing profession, due to the huge nurses’ shortage at EU level, and globally. She said that “Europe lacks truck drivers, waiters and airport workers, as well as nurses, engineers and IT technicians. Both low-end and high-end. We need much more focus in our investment on professional education and upskilling. We need better cooperation with the companies, because they know best what they need. And we need to match these needs with people’s aspirations. But we also have to attract the right skills to our continent, skills that help companies and strengthen Europe’s growth. As a first important step, we need to speed up and facilitate the recognition of qualifications also of third country nationals. This will make Europe more attractive for skilled workers. This is why I am proposing to make 2023 the European Year of Skills”. Based on the requirements within the European Pillar of Social Rights, to secure health care to populations of Europe in a timely and accessible manner, the availability of suitably qualified professional nurses must be prioritised. The EFN will be following these developments very closely.
The President of the European Commission also sent a Letter of Intent to the Presidents of the European Parliament and Council of the European Union, highlighting key actions to be taken forward in the following year, based on the Conference on the future of Europe conclusions.