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State of the Union summary: Juncker's speech in 11 points

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State of the Union summary: Juncker's speech in 11 points

Jean-Claude Juncker during his State of the Union speech on Sept. 12, 2018
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REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is delivering his fourth annual State of the Union speech, laying out the bloc's agenda for the next twelve months.

Juncker is making his speech in front of EU parliamentarians in Strasbourg, the text of his speech is here.

Here are some of the key points:

  • Peace: The European Union has brought peace to the continent - "let us show more respect to the European Union"

  • Economy: Europe has ridden out the economic crisis and now is growing consistently, having created 12 million jobs since 2014

  • Trade: Europe stands for multinationalism and will remain an open continent even if its partners choose other routes

  • Immigration: "Europe must remain a tolerant open continent. Europe will never become a fortress turning its back on the world, notably the part of the world which is suffering." An enhanced European border force should help countries implement rules regarding immigration.

  • Standards: Europe should continue to set global standards, particularly in new technology such as Artificial Intelligence
  • Brexit: The EU respects but regrets the UK decision and asks the British government to understand that outside the union it cannot enjoy the same privileges as within. Europe will always show solidarity with Ireland over the border issue with the UK. The UK will always be a close partner in political, economic and security terms.
  • Euro: The euro has been a success but the project needs to be taken further to cement its place as an international currency: "The euro must become the active instrument of a new more sovereign Europe.
  • Foreign policy: EU counties should no longer be able to veto the bloc's foreign policy. Juncker proposes majority voting to decide on some areas. The same should apply to some tax matters.
  • The far right: Europe should say no to "unhealthy nationalism" and yes to "enlightened patriotism." "Patriotism is a virtue, unchecked nationalism is riddled with both poison and deceit."
  • Africa: Europe must stop seeing its relations with Africa as a donor/receipient partnership
  • Other measures: Countries should decide whether their clocks should no longer change between summer and winter; Companies should pay taxes where they earn their profits; The European Commission will propose rules obliging internet companies to take down terrorist propaganda within one hour