EU Flash: Juncker’s State of the European Union speech

15/09/2017

Op 13 september 2017 stelde voorzitter Jean-Claude Juncker van de Europese Commissie zijn Staat van de Unie, de jaarlijkse beleidsverklaring, voor aan het Europees Parlement in Straatsburg. In de toespraak maakt hij de stand van zaken op van het huidige politieke en economische landschap in Europa. Hij roept de Europese Unie op om dezelfde koers van het voorbije jaar aan te houden en pleit onder andere voor meer eenheid en democratie in de Europese Unie.

Hieronder vindt u een Engelstalige samenvatting van de speech terug.

On 13 September 2017, the President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission delivered his annual speech on the State of the European Union at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The speech takes stock of Europe's current political and economic landscape. It is an opportunity to review the work of the EU over the past year, and to look ahead to the priorities of the coming year. Juncker urges the European Union to stay on the course it has successfully been on and calls for a more united, stronger and more democratic Union.

Staying course

Juncker lists the five most important proposals he would like to bring about before the European elections in 2019.

First of all, Juncker wishes to strengthen the European trade agenda.

He would also like to build a stronger and more competitive industry, all while turning the EU into a leader in the fight against climate change. Europeans should be better protected in the digital age, particularly against cyber-attacks. The new tools proposed by the Commission as well as the European Cybersecurity Agency must help defend us against such attacks. Lastly, he also brings migration to the forefront of the EU agenda.

Setting sail 

In his State of the European Union speech, Juncker charts the direction for the future based on three principles: freedom, equality and strong rule of law. These three principles must be the foundation on which to build a more united, stronger and more democratic Union.

A more united Union

The euro should unite rather than divide Europe. It is meant to be the single currency of the European Union as a whole. Member States that want to join the euro must be able to do so. For this reason, Juncker proposes to create a Euro-accession Instrument, offering technical and even financial assistance.

He strongly feels the EU should encourage all Member States to join the Banking Union. Then, all banks would operate under the same rules and under the same supervision across our continent, all while balancing risk-reduction and risk-sharing. He considers the completion of the Banking Union an urgent matter.

A stronger Union

Juncker would like decisions in the Council to be taken more often and more easily by qualified majority, with the equal involvement of the European Parliament. He is also strongly in favour of moving to qualified majority voting for decisions on the common consolidated corporate tax base, on VAT, on fair taxes for the digital industry and on the financial transaction tax.

Juncker also wants a stronger Economic and Monetary Union. He believes the ESM should now progressively graduate into a European Monetary Fund and be firmly anchored in our Union. The Commission will make concrete proposals for this in December.

The EU also needs a European Minister of Economy and Finance: a European Minister that promotes and supports structural reforms in our Member States. The Commissioner for economic and financial affairs – ideally also a Vice-President – should assume the role of Economy and Finance Minister. He or she should also preside the Eurogroup.

A more democratic Union

Juncker proposes to merge the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council. He believes that a single President would better reflect the true nature of the European Union as both a Union of States and a Union of citizens.

Roadmap

President Juncker sent a Roadmap to President Tajani, President Tusk as well as to the holders of the rotating Presidencies of the Council between now and March 2019, outlining the direction the EU should take. It must prepare for the Brexit, which will become final on 30 March 2019, as well as the European elections just a few weeks later.

For this reason, Juncker calls on President Tusk and Romania, the country holding the Presidency in the first half of 2019, to organise a Special Summit in Romania on 30 March 2019. It should be the moment the European Union comes together to take the decisions needed for a more united, stronger and democratic Europe.

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