Von der Leyen announces strategy to connect “goods, people and services

Von Der Leyen speaks and gives the example of Ellalink´s submarine cable in Sines Tech at ZILS in Sines, Portugal

The President of the European Commission announced today that she will present a “new connectivity strategy called ‘Global Bridge’, aiming to invest in quality infrastructure that connects “goods, people and services across the world”.

We will soon present a new connectivity strategy called Global Bridge. We will build Global Bridge partnerships with countries all over the world. We want to invest in quality infrastructure, connecting goods, people and services across the world,” announced Ursula von der Leyen.

The President of the European Commission was speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg during the State of the Union address, in which she took stock of this year and projected the priorities for 2022.

According to Von der Leyen, “for Europe to become a more active global player, it will also have to focus on the next generation of partnerships”.

In this sense, the president of the community executive said that the European Union (EU) should “deepen trade relations, strengthen global supply chains and develop new investment projects in green and digital technologies”, which is the purpose of the Global Bridge.

“This is an example of how Europe can reshape its model to connect the world. We are good at financing roads, but it makes no sense for Europe to build a perfect road between a copper mine and a port when both are owned by China. We have to be smarter when it comes to these kinds of investments,” she said.

Von der Leyen also said that the Global Bridge would “create links and not dependencies”, giving the example of the Ella Link undersea data transmission cable installed at Sines Tech in ZILS, linking the port of Sines to Brazil, which was inaugurated in June this year by the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU.

“We will invest with Africa to create a market for green hydrogen that connects the two shores of the Mediterranean. (…) We will connect institutions and investments, banks and the business community. (…) We want to make the Global Bridge a trusted brand worldwide,” emphasised Von der Leyen.

Despite this, and stressing that “it is good and necessary” to do “business all over the world”, the European Commission President also stated that the Global Bridge will be “based on values” and will not be done “at the expense of people’s dignity and freedom”.

In the same framework, Von der Leyen also announced that the Commission will propose a “ban” on the sale on the European market of “products manufactured by forced labour”.

“There are 25 million people, worldwide, who perform forced labour because of threats or coercion. We can never accept that they are forced to manufacture products and that these then end up for sale in shops in Europe. (…) Human rights are not for sale, at any price”, she said.

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