In his annual State of the Union speech at the European Parliament, Juncker said he would seek to initiate free trade talks with Australia and New Zealand.
There will be no further enlargement during this mandate, because “No candidate is ready yet”.
Should the United Kingdom leave the European Union (EU) in March 2019, following the Brexit vote, Chubb Limited plans to locate its EU headquarters in France, subject to receiving the necessary regulatory and other governmental approvals.
“The rule of law means that law and justice are upheld by an independent judiciary”, Juncker said. After a promise to discuss concerns of the critics the government won before they have to vote again, and also for the next course of debates they had to consider allowing extra time.
The EU retains a supporting role in stabilising Bosnia and Herzegovina, through the EUFOR/Althea military-led mission. He urged all countries to respect the rule of law and the decisions of the Court of the European Union.
Juncker also attacked the “scandalous” conditions for migrants in Libya, with which the European Union is working to try to stop Mediterranean crossings, and called for more solidarity with states like Italy that are on the frontline of Europe’s migration crisis.
Juncker dealt with Brexit in less than 100 words of his speech, saying Britain and the European Union would “regret” the decision but the European Union must not be held back.
He criticised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government for the arrest of journalists and a crackdown following an attempted coup previous year.
“Stop calling our member states and members of governments fascists and Nazis”.
“We will pursue a global foreign policy, and continue to work in partnership with our neighbours to promote peace, democracy and security in our continent and across the world”. Insults create roadblocks, he added.
As an example Juncker said “we don’t want to have chocolate somewhere in Europe, with less cacao in it”. Therefore, the EU Commission said that national governments would not be forced to adopt such a system against their will.
Romania and Bulgaria should be brought into the Schengen passport-free zone without delay and Croatia as soon as possible – part of a strategy to push all EU member states into all the bloc’s structures, including the euro and banking union.
In a similar manner, Juncker said that all members should contribute to a European Defense Union, arguing that such an initiative needs to be implemented by 2025.
Looking ahead to March 30, 2019, the day when Britain will be out of the EU, Juncker said he had proposed that Romania, which will then hold its rotating presidency, should host a summit in the formerly German-speaking Transylvanian city of Sibiu.
“My wish is that this summit be held in the handsome ancient city of Sibiu, or Hermannstadt as I know it”. “Lets catch the wind on our sails”, he called.