Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission President delivered today his 2017 State of the Union Address, before the Members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, presenting his priorities for the year ahead and outlining his vision for how the European Union could evolve by 2025.
Among the major challenges addressed by President Juncker was the issue of migration: "Europe is and must remain the continent of solidarity where those fleeing persecution can find refuge," he said, adding: "We have common borders but Member States that by geography are the first in line cannot be left alone to protect them. Common borders and common protection must go hand in hand."
"I cannot talk about migration without paying strong tribute to Italy for their tireless and noble work. (…) Italy is saving Europe's honour in the Mediterranean."
The President of the European Commission also presented a Roadmap for a More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union.
"The wind is back in Europe's sails," Juncker said. "But we will go nowhere unless we catch that wind. (…) We should chart the direction for the future. As Mark Twain wrote, years from now we will be more disappointed by the things we did not do, than by the ones we did. Now is the time to build a more united, stronger and more democratic Europe for 2025."
President Juncker's speech in the European Parliament was accompanied by the adoption of concrete initiatives by the European Commission on trade, investment screening, cybersecurity, industry, data and democracy, putting words immediately into action.