This year has been unlike any other. The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded much of the efforts of the EU institutions, governments and citizens in one way or another. For Europe, it has meant a crucial lesson, that the biggest challenges cannot be faced in any other way than in being united in solidarity.

A year ago, the EU took the landmark decision to become the first carbon neutral continent by 2050. This decision created the political space for the European Green Deal which is intended to drive the European continent towards a cross-cutting green transformation.

On the digital front, the European Digital Roadmap will see 20% of the Recovery Fund going to digital investment to promote common EU data spaces and boost digital infrastructure towards a new generation of European microprocessors and supercomputers. The Digital Services Act will promote greater responsibility from online platforms.

In response to the pandemic, the EU acted through measures on many fronts to protect economies and safeguard livelihoods. Such measures include the multi-billion NextGenerationEU recovery fund and the multi-annual EU budget. The EU also battled the pandemic on the sanitary front with a vaccine strategy by leading global efforts to raise nearly €16 billion to finance vaccine research, succeeding in securing availability of several vaccines to European citizens in 2021.