AEBR’s perspective on President Juncker’s State of the Union Speech at the European Parliament on 13 September 2017:



 

In “Wind in our Sails”, Juncker refers to the positive agenda proposed last year, and the current better economic situation in Europe, he announces the bouncing back of European economy, the growing reduction of unemployment, the European Investment Plan, and the broke down of public deficit.

In “Staying Course” he commits in an Energy Union, a Security Union, a Capital Markets Union, a Banking Union and a Digital Single Market. Yet open issues remain, such as the EU Common Asylum System or the strengthened rules on the Posting of Workers. Insists in the European Trade Agenda: recent agreement with Canada, next with Japan, Mexico and South America, then opening of negotiations with Australia and New Zealand, etc. All of this together with open policy making with the necessary controls. A stronger and more competitive European industry, EU leadership in the fight against climate change, better citizen’s protection in the digital age and tackling migration very seriously. He also mentions the African Trust Fund and first steps in its implementation.

In “Setting Sail” he refers to the White Paper presented last March with five scenarios for Europe until 2025, proposed to incite debate. Now he proposes an own and very personal sixth scenario, and a “Union of Values” as a compass for that scenario, based in three principles: a Union of Freedom, a Union of Equality and Equals, and the strength of the law replacing the law of the strong. He also calls for more integration, opening Schengen to Bulgaria, Romania and soon Croatia; extending the Euro to the whole Union, and to the Banking Union; agree on the Social Pillar with a European Social Standards Union; thinking seriously on the accession of Western Balkan countries, and not of Turkey due to recent developments, such as the imprisonment of journalist.

In “A Stronger Union” he asks for a stronger Single Market and Economic and Monetary Union, a European Minister of Economy and Finances, and competences of the European Parliament in the Euro Zone. The EU must also be stronger in fighting terrorism, we need a European Defence Union and the setting up of a Task Force on Subsidiarity and Proportionality is announced.

In “A More Democratic Union” President Juncker announces new rules on the financing of political parties and foundations, transnational lists in European elections, a new Code of Conduct for Commissioners, and the merge of the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission.

In “Our Roadmap” he stresses the Brexit, foreseen for 30 March 2019, just some weeks before the Election to the European Parliament. A Special Summit should take place in Romania on that day with the aim of taking important decisions for a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe.

The full text can be read in the following link in the official languages of the EU:

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-17-3165_en.htm

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