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Von der Leyen sets out EU's ambitious new goals

Ursula Von der Leyen set out some ambitious goals for Europe on Wednesday (September 16).

In a wide-ranging speech, the European Commission president raised the climate stakes for the EU, when she announced a new plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2030, Von der Leyen wants emissions cut by at least 55% from levels seen in 1990 - well up from an existing target of 40%.

She admitted the goal might be 'too much for some', but said analysis done by the Commission had confirmed a cut of that level was economically possible.

"Our impact assessment clearly shows that meeting this target would put the European Union firmly on track for climate neutrality by 2050 and for meeting our Paris Agreement obligations. And if others follow our lead, the world will be able to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius."

Von Der Leyen also announced the Commission would propose a framework for minimum wages.

The issue is politically difficult, so the Commission is not trying to set a single EU minimum wage.

Instead, it wants to ensure there is a collective bargaining for wages in place within member states.

"For too many people, work no longer pays. Dumping wages destroys the dignity of work, penalises the entrepreneur who pays decent wages and distorts fair competition in the Single Market and this has to stop."

Turning to foreign policy, Von Der Leyen warned the EU to get better at responding to global events, particularly as the bloc often finds itself unable to agree common positions on diplomacy.

She urged member states to make more decisions by majority vote, even on contentious issues.