State of the EU

10 things you need to know about September 12			
				 
   by Simon Garner 
  Published

10 things you need to know about September 12 by Simon Garner Published

Juncker also said that the "euro accession instrument" will help non-Eurozone countries enter the European Union signle currency area.

He said it was "high time" Romania and Bulgaria joined the passport-free Schengen area, ten years after the countries joined the European Union, and that Croatia should also become a member once it meets all the criteria.

He also said that "Italy is saving the honour of Europe in the Mediterranean".

Last year, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker had little to cheer about in his flagship address before the European Parliament.

With populism at bay and the economy on the upswing, Juncker's annual State of the Union speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, is expected to strike a far more optimistic note than past year. He presented the vision in the traditional speech on the state of the European Union, reports Jutarnji List on September 13, 2017.

He is likely to balance renewed criticism of governments, notably in Poland and Hungary, as well as membership candidates like Turkey, which are accused of undermining democratic rights by making proposals that will please eastern governments which, for example, complain of protectionist labour rules in the west. It is crucial that the final agreement does not leave United Kingdom pension schemes exposed to any future European Union rules on the valuation and funding of pension schemes, as these would make it far more hard to run schemes and would probably lead to lower pensions.

While pointedly demanding that European Union governments respect European Union law and court judgements - a barb aimed mainly at ex-communist states in the east like Poland and Hungary - Juncker stressed that the poorer east must not be treated as second class.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be hoping to get off to a flyer against Swiss side FC Basel
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be hoping to get off to a flyer against Swiss side FC Basel

"Nor do I see great merit in a separate euro zone parliament".

"If we want more stability in our neighborhood, then we must maintain a credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans", added Juncker.

The chief of the European Commission proposed to create the post of a Europe-wide economy and finance minister to boost the eurozone.

Juncker also said he will propose the establishment of a pan-European cybersecurity agency as online attacks around the world mount.

The EU is in the midst of work on carbon market reforms, championed by Britain, to reduce the share of free permits handed out after 2020 and shore up prices. "We have to get as much back as we put in".

Juncker is expected to say that the European Union appears to have ridden out the tide of right-wing populism that resulted in the June 2016 Brexit vote and the election of US President Donald Trump last November.

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