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juncker on the state of the eu September 14, 2016

Posted by Bradley in : eu , trackback

The EU’s landing page for the State of the Union 2016 seems pretty upbeat:

President Juncker today addressed the European Parliament in his annual State of the European Union speech. He highlighted: Europe must invest strongly in its youth, jobseekers, and start-ups. An ambitious Investment Plan for Africa – a lifeline for those who might risk dangerous journeys for a better life. We propose free wireless for every European village and city by 2020. Journalists, publishers and authors should be paid fairly for their work, wherever it’s made and shared. We will defend our borders with the new European Border and Coast Guard.

The speech itself begins with some entirely appropriate gloom:

I stood here a year ago and I told you that the State of our Union was not good. I told you that there is not enough Europe in this Union. And that there is not enough Union in this Union. I am not going to stand here today and tell you that everything is now fine. It is not. Let us all be very honest in our diagnosis. Our European Union is, at least in part, in an existential crisis…we should admit that we have many unresolved problems in Europe. There can be no doubt about this. From high unemployment and social inequality, to mountains of public debt, to the huge challenge of integrating refugees, to the very real threats to our security at home and abroad – every one of Europe’s Member States has been affected by the continuing crises of our times. We are even faced with the unhappy prospect of a member leaving our ranks

There’s a lot of uplifting material in the speech too, however, about European values (like fairness and solidarity). The “highlights” referred to above are in there but appear in a very different way from the list on the landing page, because they are bound up and embedded in this discussion of EU values. It’s a shame UK citizens weren’t given something like this speech to read as they prepared to vote in the referendum in June.


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