European Union External Action

The wind is back in Europe's sails

13/09/2017 - 12:45
News stories

European Commission President Juncker today delivered his 2017 State of the Union Address, presenting his priorities for the year ahead and outlining his vision for how the European Union could evolve by 2025. He presented a Roadmap for a More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union, and said the EU should look at its internal processes to become a stronger foreign policy actor.

Addressing the Members of the European Parliament today in Strasbourg, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the European Union is strong, united and confident, both internally and as a global player. He also suggested that Member States consider taking some foreign policy decision by qualified majority voting.

"The wind is back in Europe's sails," said the President. "Ten years since crisis struck, Europe's economy is finally bouncing back. And with it, our confidence. Our EU27 leaders, the Parliament and the Commission are putting the Europe back in our Union. Together, we are putting the Union back in our Union."

Thanks to this strength, the EU is fulfilling its leading role on the world stage, in such areas as trade and environment. "Partners across the globe have started lining up at our door to conclude trade agreements with us.  Today, we are proposing to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand."

Speaking of the fight against climate change, Juncker said: "Set against the collapse of ambition in the United States, Europe will ensure we make our planet great again. It is the shared heritage of all of humanity."

The EU is also working to promote peace and security in our region and worldwide. In Europe, President Juncker stressed the importance of "maintaining a credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans" six, saying that although enlargement was not for the coming few years, "thereafter the European Union will be greater than 27 in number."

Beyond, President Juncker highlighted the need for the EU to keep cooperating with Africa: "Our €2.7 billion EU-Africa Trust Fund is creating employment opportunities across the continent." And when crisis hits in our neighbourhood or around the world "Europe is and must remain the continent of solidarity where those fleeing persecution can find refuge."