On Wednesday 12 September 2018, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, delivered his State of the Union Address at the European Parliament. In the speech the priorities for the year ahead were presented. This year's speech comes ahead of the 2019 European elections and of the EU summit that will be held in Sibiu in May 2019.

Junker pointed out how ten years after Lehman Brothers, Europe has largely turned the page on the economic and financial crisis. In particular, the President observed that Europe's economy has grown for 21 consecutive quarters and that almost 12 million new jobs have been created since 2014.

Juncker then underlined how if united the EU can become a prominent global player, as it was demonstrated by the reaffirmation of its position as a trade power and by the defense of the Paris Agreement on climate change. For this reason the President stated that “the geopolitical situation makes this Europe's hour: the time for European sovereignty has come”.

Regarding the 2019 European elections, as heated exchanges amongst governments and institutions are becoming more and more common, Juncker underlined the importance for European citizens to “reject unhealthy nationalism and embrace enlightened patriotism”.

On Brexit Juncker stated: “we ask the British government to understand that someone who leaves the Union cannot be in the same privileged position as a Member State”, because “if you leave the Union, you are no longer part of our single market, and certainly not only in the parts of it you choose”.

As for security in the Union, Juncker championed the adoption of new rules to get terrorist content off the web within one hour. Moreover, in the speech it was proposed to approve new measures to better protect European democratic processes from manipulation by third countries or private interests and to extend the tasks of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to include the fight against terrorist offenses.

The President then tackled the issue of migration. He called for the further development of the European Asylum Agency and the strengthening of the European Border and Coast Guard with an additional 10,000 European border guards by 2020. In addition, he proposed to accelerate the return of irregular migrants while at the same time opening new legal pathways to the Union.

Juncker also called for “a new Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa”. “As we envision it – Juncker explained – this Alliance would help create up to 10 million jobs in Africa in the next 5 years alone”. Moreover, he claimed that there is the need to “develop the numerous European-African trade agreements into a continent-to-continent free trade agreement, as an economic partnership between equals”.

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