Juncker’s speech in Strasbourg: what he said and what he meant

15.09.2016

Jean-Claude Juncker, in his political speech in Strasbourg yesterday, noted that the EU is faced with an "existential crisis". The European Commission President pointed out that the members of the union “never have enough common ground and common position." And, in his opinion, this division contributes to strengthening of populism, which, according to Juncker "does not solve problems, but creates them." As proof of his words, he cited a number of reasons.

Brexit

The UK’s exit from the European Union was a major blow to Brussels. Juncker said that he respects the decision of the British and at the same time regrets it. He hinted that, upon withdrawing from the EU, London will experience additional difficulties with access to the common European market. However, the situation and many experts suggest that Brexit will have an extremely positive impact on the British economy in the medium and long term. Almost immediately after the announcement of results of the referendum, 27 countries expressed interest in the conclusion of individual trade agreements with the United Kingdom.

European army

Juncker also called for a European army "which would cooperate with NATO." He diplomatically said that "it would not mean a reduction of transatlantic cooperation." The key question on the subject of a European army is its attitude to NATO. If it is a structure within the Alliance, it is just a way of organizing the armed forces of Europe under the control of Washington. If a European army will not participate in any military-political alliances, then it could become one of the most important factors in gaining Europe sovereignty.

Borders

The issue of protecting national borders of EU member states rose particularly sharply after the start of the migration crisis. The call to "overcome division" means the proportional distribution of refugees from the Middle East and Africa across all EU countries. This reluctance of countries such as Hungary, to accept refugees who do not want to integrate into European society are treated by Juncker treats as not meeting common European ideals.

Economy and trade

In the part of his speech related to the EU’s economic and trade relations, Juncker was extremely cautious. He expressed his support for the signing of the CETA agreement, which will facilitate European companies’ access to the Canadian market. At the same time, the chairman of the European Commission did not raise the issue of the Treaty on transatlantic trade and investment partnership. This causes a lot of disturbance among the European business community, as its main objective is the actual transfer of European markets to the control of transnational corporations, a decisive share of which is owned by US capital.