STRASBOURG, France – The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, opened on Wednesday his State of the Union address to the European Parliament plenary session with a message of optimism.
The 30-page speech, delivered in a mix of English, French and German, proposed an agenda to work towards a more united European Union.
“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,” said Juncker, emphasizing that the EU economy has grown at a faster rate than the United States over the last two years.
“Now is the time to be a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe for 2025,” Juncker said in his keynote address, which was to be followed by speeches by the leaders of the main political groups in the European Parliament.
Juncker added that the euro was destined to be a currency for all member states, rather than a select few.
The EC wants to facilitate, without changing the convergence criteria, the entry of countries interested in joining the EU, but haven’t been able to so far.
In the next few months, Juncker will propose some changes in the architecture of the EU, including a budget for the eurozone, a European Labor Authority.
Some concrete actions will be presented in the debate including a proposal to lead world trade by taking advantage of the US Administration’s protectionist stance as well as a code of conduct for European commissioners and new norms for the financing of political parties.