The European Union’s new leaders pledged to prioritize action against climate change upon taking office Sunday, according to The Associated Press.
“Today we can present a unified face to the rest of the world. With more weight and greater coherence in a rules-based world,” former Belgian premier Charles Michel, who succeeded European Council President Donald Tusk, said Sunday. “Today we do more than look back, we celebrate a new beginning, with great enthusiasm and hope.”
“The European Union wants to be the first climate neutral continent in 2050. Europe is leading in this topic and we know that we have to be ambitious for our planet,” Ursula von der Leyen, the EU’s new president, told reporters.
Von der Leyen, the first woman to hold the position, will travel to Madrid Monday for an international climate conference.
Von der Leyen will depart for her first foreign trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday to meet with Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, as well as Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde, according to the AP.
“We need to turn the promises of the past few months into results that improve people’s lives,” added European Parliament President David Sassoli. “From the fight against climate change to tackling the rise in the cost of living, Europeans want to see real action.”