Juncker’s ABSOLUTE RULE: All-powerful president, EU-wide Euro, EU army – all WITHOUT vote
JEAN-CLAUDE Juncker has delivered his much-anticipated State of the Union speech with a snub to Britain by insisting the European Union (EU) will move towards greater integration despite Brexit.
REBECCA PERRING & JOEY MILLAR
The EU chief, who began speaking at 8am this morning (ER: September 13), set out his 12-month masterplan to steer the troubled bloc through the escalating refugee crisis and reform the eurozone..The European Commission president refused to make Brexit the defining issue of his address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg as he instead focused on the EU’s future without Britain..Keen to push ahead with his masterplan, billed as the biggest reboot in the EU’s history, Mr Juncker ratcheted-up the federalisation of the 60-year-old bloc’s core economies..The Brussels boss has also called for EU integration in the face of rising populism after Britain voted to sever ties with the bloc ahead of crunch elections in Italy, Sweden, Hungary and the Czech Republic, where eurosceptic parties are gaining momentum..It appears Jean-Claude Juncker is keen to make his mark in the EU as his five-year term as European Commission president expires in 2019 with a grand masterplan to rebuild the bloc left in tatters after Britain’s momentous decision to leave..Mr Juncker this morning announced the European Commission would begin negotiations with Australia and New Zealand for new trade deals..The Commonwealth nations are already tipped to become the first targets of trade deals with Britain after Brexit.
GETTY — Juncker is delivering a speech in Strasbourg
11:11am: Juncker has wrapped up his speech by responding to his EU members. But it was short and sweet as the EU boss revealed he was suffering with sciatica. He confirmed the commission would look towards creating more legislation to address social issues before making his excuses to leave..10:52am: Greek MEP Maria Spyraki took a swipe at the EU members that are failing to take on their responsibility during the EU migrant crisis She said: “Citizens are waiting for us to directly show we don’t like populism and extremism in Europe.“We need to come up with rational, correct solutions.”We need to keep Europe safe from terrrorism.”Greeks and Italians are facing the brunt of this crisis. Those who don’t accept their responsibilites should be sanctioned if they don’t.”.10:44am: Romania MEP Victor Bostinaru praised Juncker for his “courage and wisdom” in his speech. He said: “We share your vision. The EU can be important player in matters of security.”We can be united on one voice.”10:38am: Bulgarian MEP Andrey Kovatchevha said “we need to be effective in the EU because it’ll be our fault if the EU is ineffective next year” He urged Juncker to keep citizens safe by focussing on cyber security control of our external borders.
Mr Kovatchev said Brussels should continue to work towards helping the EU “recover economicially”.
10:12am: France’s Nicolas Bay has said the EU parliament is “still as ridiculous as it was last year”
He accused Mr Juncker of having a “lack of respect for the people of Europe”.
10:06am: Sweden’s Peter Lundgren told Juncker “we want tangible solutions to tangible problems.
He said: “You don’t manage to do this.
“What about the future of our young people?
“It remains vague visions and dreams and more federalisation is what you seem to be pleading for.”
EBS — Farage has accused the EU of not learning since the Brexit vote
9:58am: Germany’s Daniel Caspary has said the EU needs to “seize the opportunity” as one or two years ago the mood was “sombre”. He said: “We need to form our trade protection instruments. We need to be able to protect our industrial base. “People are worried about jobs, not least Germans worried about jobs in the German car industry”. “Many people think we’re in a ivory tower in Europe – we need to bridge the gap, we need to be closer to our citizens.”.9:48am: Nigel Farage is up and he is on course to defend Britain He described Juncker’s speech as the most “open and honest and truly worrying” speeches he has ever heard from the EU chief.The former Ukip leader said: “The message is very clear: Brexit has happened, new steam ahead. One powerful president for the whole of the EU. A finance minister with fresh powers. A stronger European army in a militarised European Union. And more Europe in every single direction and all to be done without the consent of the people. All I can say is thank God we’re leaving because you’ve learned nothing from Brexit. “It is reminiscent of regimes of old. Indeed the way you’re treating Hungary and Poland already must remind them of living under the Soviet Communists. All I can say is thank God we’re leaving because you’ve learned nothing from Brexit.”And pointing to the seemingly wilful need for the EU to shoot itself in the foot he added: “If you’d given Cameron concessions … I have to admit, the Brexit vote would never, ever have happened. You’re deluding yourself Mr Verhofstadt, if you think the populist wave is over. Far from the populist wave being over, I doubt it’s even begun.” He said Europe was appointing powerful unelected people in positions of huge power including “a finance minister who intervenes when he feels it necessary” and plans for “a European army with a more aggressive foreign policy.”Attacking European proposals to introduce a bizarrely complex pan-European voting system Mr Farage said: “Genuine democratic parties of oppositions won’t be able to compete on a level playing field.”
EBS — Farage looks on as Verhofstadt attacks him
9:28am: Guy Verhofstadt, one of the EU’s Brexit negotiators, is up and he has taken the oppportunity to lay into the UK. He said: “What the difference from last year. I liked your speech, I thought it was full of ambition for 2019 and quite a difference from last year. But let’s be honest, a lot has changed.” He mocked the failed populist leaders who failed in the Austrian, French and Dutch elections. Mr Verhofstadt said: “Even in Hungary said there is no way Hungary would leave the union. Mr Orban, Ms Le Pen, Mr Wilders – Welcome to the side of reason – the only one who still doesn’t get it is Mr Farage.I don’t think they are so stupid to do that – it’s clear our citizens don’t want to destroy Europe – no bloody way.”Let’s not make the mistake that the war is over. What the people want is a reformed European Union. “He added: “I want to say [to them] welcome to the side of reason! Even though we know they have not changed their mind … but through fear of losing votes.
EBS — Guy Verhofstadt has laid into the UK and Nigel Farage
9:25am: British MEP Syed Kamall has urged Brussels not to be so sensitive to constructive criticism. He said: “Being critical of the policies of the EU should not be seen as an attack on the EU.”And he said less Europe, not more, would help make the bloc a success. Mr Kamall said: “They prefer an EU that compliments their national and local governments, not one that overrules them.”He compared Eu growth plans to the Soviet 5-year plans, saying they did not create jobs in themselves..9:19am: Italian MEP Gianni Pittella said a “new wind of hope blowing over Europe”.He said citizens believed that “without Europe, they were more on their own, less defended”.Mr Pitella added: “We have done well, but we have only one bullet in the gun and we can’t shoot it wrong.”He called for more to be done to reduce migration and to help those on the front line of the crisis, like his native Italy.The Italian added: “Thank you for your recognition of Italy but, and I say this as a European not an Italian, we must do more.“We must create legal routes for migrants … We have to have a partnership with Africa, which I would define as the partnership of dignity.”
EBS — Gianni Pittella said a ‘new wind of hope blowing over Europe’
9:13am: Merkel’s ally Manfred Weber is now speaking He said members must he said “defend the future of European life”. Mr Weber said: “We must defend the identity of Europe. We must defend the European way of life.”We will also be successful, let’s start now.”Mr Weber also expressed his suspicions of Russia’s intentions in Europe and called for an end to the proposed pipeline development from the country into the bloc.He said: “A lot of people are worried about the images that they see – we need to police and protect our borders. Illegal migration needs to be stopped. A lot of people are shocked by Turkey.“What is Putin planning now? We have to defend ourselves – European defence is a good idea. It is a priority. This is why we should stop Nord Stream 2.”.9:09am: Mr Juncker has completed his speech to a thunderous applause..Although Nigel Farage and the majority of the British delegate remain seated with their arms folded.
EBS —Weber says the EU must ‘defend the European way of life’
9:07am: Mr Juncker said he hopes post-Brexit Europe is even closer than ever before, calling for universal membership of the eurozone and Schengen Area This may worry some states, including Ireland, which remain outside of the Schengen Area.Ireland in the Schengen Area would also highly complicate the issue of the Irish border, which after Brexit would be the only barrier between the UK and the EU.He said: ““My hope is on 30th March 2019, Europeans will wake up in union where they know we are respecting their values. Where full member of eurozone Schengen Zone … is standard for every member of European Union.”He urged Europe to unite and work together before the next crisis emerges.Mr Juncker said: “When the next storm brews, and it certainly will, it will be too late. Let’s set sail, let’s get going and let’s catch the wind in our sails.”.9:04am: Mr Juncker has just laid into Britain saying “Brexit isn’t everything” He said the day Britain finally unshackles itself from the bloc will be a “sad and tragic moment in our history”.He said: “We will always regret this and I think you will regret it soon if I must say. Nonetheless we have to we will move on.”We will respect the will of the people, but Brexit isn’t everything, it’s not the be-all-end-all, it is not the future,” adding members must focus on the future of the EU.
EBS — Juncker is calling for a ‘more unified’ Union
8:58am: The EU boss has recommended merging the presidencies of European Union and European Council into one single positionHe added: “This is not aimed at myself and not aimed at Donald [Tusk] … the European landscape would be clearer.”If we just had a single president – A single president will be at the helm of the work of the Commission and Council.”.8:54am: Mr Juncker has hinted at the bloc’s controversial plans for an EU Army He said: “In the field of defence more effort is required. The setting up of a European defence fund is on our agenda. By 2025 we will need a functioning European Defence Union. We need it and NATO would like us to have it.”.8:52am: The EU chief appears to be meeting France and Germany halfway with plans for a independent EU finance ministerBut he said the symbolic role should be taken by a current vice-president in order to strengthen the troubled bloc’s economy.He said: “We need a European Monetary fund which needs to be anchored in the European Union. We need a European minister of economy and finance, a minister to promote structural reform in our member states. Euro-wide taxes in the EU don’t need treaty change as long as it is decided in the European Council.”We do not need parallel structures we need a strong eurozone budget line within the EU budget.”Nor do I see no value in a separate euro parliament.”