A letter to Ursula von der Leyen on the event of her State of the Union speech

September 14, 2022

another future is possible

By Laura Sullivan

Dear President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen,

As you prepare to give your speech on the State of the European Union today, we want to bring the voices of European citizens to you. WeMove Europe is a movement of more than one million Europeans across all EU member states. We have asked the community to share a message with you about how they’re feeling in the face of the energy and price crisis.

Ten of thousands of Europeans followed our call and filled out a survey yesterday about how they experience the energy and cost of living crisis. And many thousands wrote a personal message to you.

The results are a wake-up call. 56% of our Polish members are very worried about the rising cost of living, so much so that they don’t know how they are going to pay their bills. The numbers are very high across European countries: 47% of our community in Spain , 35% in France, 31% in Germany, 29% in the Netherlands and 35% in Italy are starting to feel desperate.

But there is good news. Our community has plenty of constructive proposals for how to address the crisis, ranging from windfall taxes to putting a cap on gas prices. Many of them acknowledge the burden of the many problems on your desk right now and wish you strength. Others ask how it is possible to take action on the cost of living if you don’t listen to the very people who can’t pay for bread at the end of the month. In all this, one thing is certain: Europeans need action from you and they want you to hear them out on how to do that.

WeMove Europe stands for the kind of Europe that listens to its roots and shares the burden of making Europe better together. We actively fight against Euroscepticism and Europessimism by involving people in the dilemmas and opportunities we face collectively. But we will lose them if they don’t feel heard.

So we propose a meeting with you to hear from a sample of this community and to discuss the options to address the crisis in more detail with a different kind of expert to the ones we’re used to: people who are experiencing hardship now.

I leave you with some of the messages that our members have sent us to share with you below.

Sincerely yours,

Laura Sullivan

Executive Director
WeMove Europe

Messages from our community of Europeans:

“Ich habe Angst vor der Zukunft. Zweiundsiebzig Jahre habe ich ganz gut gelebt, habe mein Auskommen, aber jetzt habe ich Angst vor dem, was auf mich zukommt.”, Sabine

“Als alleinerziehende Mutter habe ich mir mit viel Mühe eine einigermaßen ausreichende Altersversorgung erarbeitet. Angesichts der Inflation und der Energiekosten stehe ich vor einer Katastrophe.”, Ursula

“Als Studierende habe ich in den letzten beiden Jahren erlebt, was es heißt, keinen Job und kein Geld zu haben.”, Antonia

“Emeryt, z niską emeryturą, jak ja jest przerażony bo nie wie czy mu starczy pieniędzy na przetrwanie.”, Małgorzata

“Żeby nie wycinać już lasów jako "biopaliwo" - to się bardzo źle dla wszystkich skończy 😞”, Joanna

“Efektywność i wystarczalność energetyczna jest tym w co powinna inwestować Europa. W imię niezależności, bezpieczeństwa i klimatu. Ograniczenie zużycia energii, zwłaszcza z paliw kopalnych to także więcej demokracji i ochrona praw człowieka - brak wsparcia dla opresyjnych reżimów, które karmimy przez nasze uzależnienie od ropy, gazu, węgla to Mimo trudności nie możemy ugiąć się pod energetycznym szantażem Rosji.”, Krzysztof

“Źyczę Pani Przewodniczącej szybkiego rozwiązania kryzysu energetycznego w UE. Generalnie odejścia od mrzonek i wizjonerstwa na rzecz rzetelności i bezstronności we wszystkich poczynaniach..”, Elżbieta

“The most vulnerable and disadvantaged will suffer dreadfully unless and until the EU puts in place a suite of strong actions to deal with the frightening problem of the rising cost of living.” Ailbhe

“Older people are struggling and frightened. They are having to reduce the quality of their lives to fund their fuel bills. As a society we can do better than this.”, Penelope

“I don't know how my retired parents will afford to live this winter”, Mari

“Vos choix démontreront la pertinence ou pas de l'existence de l'Europe. L'énergie n'est pas un bien comme un autre. Elle doit donc obéir à une régulation qui privilégie l'indépendance”, Pascal

“Il faut absolument créer un très grand plan européen de type Plan Marshall, afin de financer la rénovation énergétique des bâtiments et l'installation d’un système de production d'énergie renouvelables”, Jean Luc

“Las personas no pueden vivir con 1000 Euros de sueldo”, Maite

“Intervengan las compañías eléctricas o el sistema colapsara”, Alfonso

“Prohíben que los impuestos de los multimillonarios acaben pagandolos la clase trabajadora”, Samuel

“Laten we met elkaar de energietransitie oppakken zonder dat mensen er onder lijden”, Patricia

“Sterkte met alle problemen: energie, Rusland/Oekraine, klimaat, asielbeleid”, Bob

“Hou aub de wat verdere toekomst in het oog en ga niet voor (enkel) korte termijn oplossingen”, Antoine

“Wie nooit heeft meegemaakt wat het is om op het einde van de maand geen brood meer te kunnen kopen, kan helaas ook niet weten hoeveel stress het geeft om alweer een koude winter tegemoet te gaan”, Heidi

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