September 13, 2017 / 7:45 AM / 2 years ago

HIGHLIGHTS-Juncker's keynote EU State of Union address

STRASBOURG, Sept 13 (Reuters) - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker makes his annual keynote State of the European Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

These are highlights of what the EU chief executive has said so far:


“The wind is back in Europe’s sails. Now we have a window of opportunity, but it will not stay open forever. Let us make the most of the moment: catch the wind in our sails.”


“I’d like to reinforce, to strengthen our European trade programmes. Europe is open to trade but there must be reciprocity. We have to get as much back as we put in.”

“Partners across the globe are lining up at our door to conclude trade agreements with us.”

“Today, we are proposing to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.... I would like these trade agreements to be completed by the end of our mandate.”

“Trade is not an abstract concept, it’s jobs, new opportunities for European businesses.”

“Every million (euro) of exports that we have equals 14,000 extra jobs in Europe.”

“Trade is also exporting our social and environmental rules... protection of data and food safety.”

“We suggest today a new framework for the EU on... investment screening.”


“Italy is saving the honour of Europe in the Mediterranean.”

“Migration remains on our radar. We have managed to make real progress. Today we protect the external frontier in a more efficient manner.”

“We have managed to slow down the flow of regular migrants. We have reduced the number of irregular arrivals.”

“We have considerably reduced the number of human lives lost in the Mediterranean.”

“Those who have no right to stay in Europe have to go back to their country of origin.”

“We have to considerably strengthen our activities in this area.”

“Today we protect external frontiers in more efficient manner.”

“Solidarity cannot be an exclusively intra-European issue... It’s also about creating greater solidarity in Africa.”

“Irregular migration will only stop when the migrants have another option... a legal migration system.”


“The Commission wants to make our industry stronger and more competitive.

“I am proud of our car industry but I am shocked when clients and users are intentionally cheated.”

“I invite the car industry to make proper amends for that and correct what they are doing.”

“The Commission will shortly present a proposal to reduce carbon in the transport sector.”


“There cannot be second-class workers in Europe. People working in the same place doing the same work should receive the same remuneration.”

“There can be no second-class consumers in Europe. I cannot accept that people, especially in central and eastern Europe, are buying poorer quality products with the same labels and packaging as in other countries.”

“It is high time to bring Romania and Bulgaria into the Schengen area. Croatia too deserves full membership in the Schengen area as soon as all criteria are met.”

“EU must offer credible membership prospects to Western Balkans.”


“In Europe, law has muscle, it’s not muscle that lays down the law.”

“In Europe, the law is safeguarded by an independent judiciary. Being part of a union that is built on the rule of law means respecting court judgements.”

“Our member states have given the European Court of Justice the powers to take the ultimate decision and that means ECJ judgements have to be respected in all cases.”

“Failing to respect them and undermining national justice systems means stealing citizens’ fundamental rights.”

“In the EU, the rule of law is not optional, it’s a duty.”

“Our union is not a state but it’s still governed by the rule of law.”

“And that rules out membership for Turkey for the foreseeable future.”

“Compromises are an art, a way of bridging our differences... People who struggle with compromises, struggle with democracy and struggle with Europe.”


“We need a European minister of economy and finance to promote structural reform in our member states.”

“We don’t need a separate euro zone budget, we need a strong euro zone budget line within the existing EU budget.”

“Nor do I see great merit in a separate euro zone parliament.”

“All but two member states are legally bound to join (the euro zone).”


“The EU also needs to be stronger on fighting terrorism... (That is why we are proposing) an agency to ensure automatic exchange of data on foreign fighters.”

“The EU should also have more influence on the world stage. It needs to be able to make its foreign policy decisions more quickly... The time has come to take foreign policy decisions in certain cases by qualified majority.”

“In the field of defence, more efforts are required... By 2025, we will need a functioning EU defence union. We need it, and NATO would like us to have it.”


“We will always regret this and I think you will regret this soon as well, I must say.”

“But we have to respect the will of the British people, but we are going to make progress. We will keep on moving because Brexit is not everything. It’s not the future of Europe. It’s not the be-all and end-all.” (Reporting by Lily Cusack, Gabriela Baczynska, Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

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