State of The Union Speech – Key messages

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today delivered his 2018 State of the Union Address, before the Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, presenting his priorities for the year ahead and outlining his vision for how the European Union can continue to build a ‘More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union’, which was the theme of his 2017 Address.

Against the backdrop of an ever more uncertain world, he stressed the need for Europe to become more sovereign so as to be able to play a role in shaping global affairs.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said today:

The geopolitical situation makes this Europe’s hour: the time for European sovereignty has come. It is time Europe took its destiny into its own hands. This belief that “united we stand taller” is the very essence of what it means to be part of the European Union. Sharing sovereignty – when and where needed – makes each of our nation states stronger.”

Key Excerpts:

 

  • In today’s world, Europe can no longer be certain that words given yesterday can still be counted on today. That old alliances may not look the same tomorrow

  • If Europe were to unite all the political, economic and military might of its nations, its role in the world could be strengthened. We will always be a global payer but it is time we started being a global player too.

  • Only a strong and united Europe can protect our citizens against threats internal and external – from terrorism to climate change.

  • Only a strong and united Europe can protect jobs in an open, interconnected world.

  • Only a strong and united Europe can master the challenges of global digitisation.

  • Terrorists know no borders. We cannot allow ourselves to become unwitting accomplices because of our inability to cooperate. In the same vein, we have also today proposed measures to fight money laundering more effectively across our borders.

  • After 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom will never be an ordinary third country for us. The United Kingdom will always be a very close neighbour and partner, in political, economic and security terms.

  • Heated exchanges amongst governments and institutions are becoming more and more common. Harsh or hurtful words will not get Europe anywhere. The tone is not only worrying when it comes to political discourse.

  • It is also true of the way some seek to shut down debate altogether by targeting media and journalists.

  • Europe must always be a place where freedom of the press is sacrosanct. Too many of our journalists are intimidated, attacked, or even murdered.

  • We must do more to protect our democracy and its agents – our journalists.

  • In general, we must do more to revive the lost art of compromise. Compromise does not mean sacrificing our convictions or selling out on our values.

  • We are all responsible for the Europe of today. And we must all take responsibility for the Europe of tomorrow.

  • Such is history: parliaments and Commissions come and go, Europe is here to stay.

  • But for Europe to become what it must, there are several lessons to be learnt. I want Europe to get off the side-lines of world affairs. Europe can no longer be a spectator or a mere commentator of international events. Europe must be an active player, an architect of tomorrow’s world.

  • There is strong demand for Europe throughout the world. To meet such high demand, Europe will have to speak with one voice on the world stage. In the concert of nations, Europe’s voice must ring clear in order to be heard.

  • Let us not slide back into the incoherence of competing and parallel national diplomacies.

  • Europe diplomacy must be conducted in the singular. Our solidarity must be all-embracing. I want us to do more to bring together the East and West of Europe. It is time we put an end to the sorry spectacle of a divided Europe. Our continent and those who brought an end to the Cold War deserve better. I would like the European Union to take better care of its social dimension.

  • Those that ignore the legitimate concerns of workers and small businesses undermine European unity. It is time we turned the good intentions that we proclaimed at the Gothenburg Social Summit into law.

  • I would like next year’s elections to be a landmark for European democracy. I would like to see the Spitzenkandidaten process – that small step forward for European democracy – repeated. For me, this process would be made all the more credible if we were to have transnational lists. I hope these will be in place by the next European elections in 2024 at the latest.

  • I would like us to reject unhealthy nationalism and embrace enlightened patriotism. We should never forget that the patriotism of the 21st Century is two-fold: both European and national, with one not excluding the other.

  • As the French philosophe Blaise Pascal said: I like things that go together. In order to stand on its own two feet, Europe must move forward as one. To love Europe, is it love its nations. To love your nation is to love Europe. Patriotism is a virtue. Unchecked nationalism is riddled with both poison and deceit.

  • In short, we must remain true to ourselves.

Full Speech Can be Downloaded Here 

 

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