The State of the Union

The State of the Union speech is the annual address by the President of the European Commission to the European Parliament. It has been instituted by the Lisbon Treaty (2009), in order to make political life of the European Union (EU) more democratic and transparent. On Wednesday 9 September Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker used his first ever State of the Union speech to set out plans for tackling several challenges Europe is currently facing – both internally and externally.

The refugee crisis is his first priority. Under his proposals, refugees would be distributed across Member States. He also wants to establish a €1.8bn trust fund to help potential migrants find jobs and stability in their countries.

Greece and European economy is the second challenge. Grexit is not an option and the Commission will assist the country in developing a growth strategy. As for the EU critical economic situation, he called for a social Europe that will bring growth and full employment.

Furthermore, he has been advocating for a fair deal with Britain to avoid a potential Brexit saying he believes “that the EU is better with Britain in it and that Britain is better within the EU”.

He also addressed foreign policy and gave a clear sign to Moscow about the situation in Ukraine as he said that the EU security and the borders are “untouchable”.

Finally, the EU is leading in its action on climate change and Juncker wants to adopt an “ambitious […] and binding global climate deal” in view of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

In a nutshell, Jean-Claude Juncker is calling for “more Europe in the Union”. But he also reflects on the role of the European Commission as he wants to adopt a more political approach to tackle these issues.