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Jean-Claude Juncker calls for European Union to become 'global player'

13 September, 2018, 02:24 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Jean-Claude Juncker deals blow to Theresa May as Tory plotting intensifies

Unlike 2017, when Juncker spoke in English and explicitly mentioned enlargement to the Western Balkans for the first time, his last speech as head of the European Commission was in French, and focused more on populism, the lack of cohesion between Eastern and Western Europe, and the lack of consensus on migration policy. "It is time Europe took its destiny into its own hands".

Mr Kelly, who is a member of the European Parliament Working Group on the bi-annual Clock Change, said he was pleased Mr Juncker's proposals bring the end date for clock changes forward from 2021 to next year. "Sharing sovereignty - when and where needed - makes each of our nation states stronger".

Juncker, who was delivering his annual state of the union speech to the European Parliament said a framework will be set up to attract more investment into Africa. These proposals are meant to help deliver positive results for citizens by the time of the Sibiu Summit in May 2019 and ahead of the 2019 European elections.

Juncker told MEPs that he and Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda and chairperson of the African Union, had "agreed that donor-recipient relations are a thing of the past".

While he will be stepping down from his role in a year's time, Juncker indicated that in the future, the European Union would seek to take advantage of Africa's efforts to forge a free trade area within the continent by offering a continent-to-continent free trade agreement. We need more solidarity, and solidarity must be lasting and organized'.

Speaking hours before MEPs voted to trigger the bloc's most serious sanctions procedure against Hungary for its threat to the rule of law, Juncker conceded that the European Union was "imperfect". "And yet, just a year later, a brutal war broke out amongst brothers, engulfing the continent. We are out of time".

While the European Union opposes May's call for Britain to stay in a free trade zone with the European Union for goods only, Juncker said the two sides should seek a broad free-trade deal.

He said it was in Europe's interest to engage with Africa on a more significant basis, with other global powers - particularly China - having already made their imprint there.

"By 2050 Africa's population will number 2.5 billion", Juncker said. And we have to stop seeing this relationship through the sole prism of development aid.

"Africa does not need charity, it needs true and fair partnerships".

Only one EPA - with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) - has been implemented, with many African regional blocs complaining that the terms offered by the European Union were unfavourable.


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