Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel marked the inauguration of their phrases Sunday by becoming a member of the presidents of the European Parliament and European Central Financial institution for a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Lisbon Treaty.
“There may very well be no higher day to start the work,” mentioned von der Leyen, the primary girl to function European Fee president, the EU’s prime govt job. “We’re the guardians of the Treaties.”
“4 presidents collectively,” European Central Financial institution President Christine Lagarde, a former French finance minister and managing director of the Worldwide Financial Fund, mentioned. “Two males and two ladies.”
It was certainly a historic show of gender symmetry for a bloc that aspires to be the worldwide pacesetter in equality however till now has discovered such steadiness lacking from its personal management ranks. All 4 of the earlier presidents had been males: Jean-Claude Juncker; Donald Tusk; Antonio Tajani; and Mario Draghi.
It was additionally a extremely choreographed present of unity as the brand new EU leaders put together to begin directing the bloc’s response to its a number of ongoing challenges starting from Brexit to local weather change.
As von der Leyen and Michel started their phrases on the Fee and Council, the 4 leaders gathered on the Home of European Historical past, in Brussels’ European quarter, the place they posed on the entrance steps for images, took a really transient non-public tour of the galleries after which gave transient remarks to the press.
“We meet right here on the Home of European Historical past as a result of it’s the proper place to relaunch the European venture, a venture that can take the initiative to modernize European democracy, making it extra environment friendly, and develop new European insurance policies,” European Parliament President David Sassoli mentioned in opening the occasion.
Sassoli famous it was a “lucky coincidence” that von der Leyen and Michel’s phrases started on the identical day because the anniversary of the entry into drive of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, which amended the founding legal guidelines of the EU.
He additionally mentioned it was time for the EU to push ahead on vital coverage objectives, together with preventing local weather change. He introduced Parliament would convene a particular session on December 11 for von der Leyen and the Fee to current its “European Inexperienced Deal,” an formidable package deal of initiatives aimed toward defending the planet and cushioning the financial blow to some residents and industries.
On Monday, von der Leyen, Michel and Sassoli will journey to Madrid to attend the opening of the COP25 world local weather convention.
“Europeans need to see actual motion,” Sassoli mentioned Sunday.
Von der Leyen used her speech to emphasise how far she thinks the EU has come within the decade because the begin of the Lisbon Treaty. “Ten years in the past, our predecessors had been nonetheless discussing whether or not Europe ought to have a flag or an anthem,” she mentioned. “However in these 10 years, tens of millions of individuals have taken to the streets waving the European flag — our flag — and tens of millions have been impressed and moved by the “Ode to Pleasure,” the European anthem, our anthem. Our duty is to be a champion, to be a champion for our fellow Europeans with their desires and their aspirations.”
After the speeches, Sassoli and Michel formally handed a duplicate of the Treaty to von der Leyen.
Then the 4 presidents briefly huddled together, smiling, their arms on one another’s shoulders like a group headed out onto the sphere to tackle the opposition.