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Juncker: No new member in EU by 2019

13 September 2017

The tone of Juncker's speech was notably more optimistic than last year's low-spirited address, which took place shortly after the United Kingdom had voted to leave the union.

He said Europe's economy was "bouncing back" and the EU had to move beyond Brexit, calling for the union to embrace reforms and forge new trade deals.

However, delivering the annual State of the Union address in Brussels today, Mr Juncker said the EPPO could also help in "fighting terrorism".

Where all Member States firmly respect the rule of law.

But the hour-long speech, which ranged over areas as diverse as the quality of fish fingers to plans to create a super-presidency role, Brexit was given a notably short slot near the end. It will be a moment both sad and tragic.

"It is a political responsibility to know what is going on in our own backyard so that we can protect our collective security if needed".

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"Let us make the most of the momentum, catch the wind in our sails", he said.

Mr Juncker said countries from around the world were "lining up at our door" to do trade deals with the European Union and that other accords such as those with Mexico and parts of South America were also on the table.

He wrote: "2016 was in many ways an "annus horribilis" for the European project".

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He will call for countries that are outside the eurozone and the Schengen passport-free area to join, they added.

The 62-year-old has two years left in office as head of the EU's powerful executive arm to ensure that his legacy is not limited to the departure of one of the European Union's largest member states.

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He also said he would not allow some European Union citizens to have lesser rights than others, and quoted as an example food products, which are better in some member states and worse in poorer countries, although sold in the same packaging.

"Journalists belong in newsrooms not in prisons They belong where freedom of expression reigns", Juncker stressed.

And he sounded a more bullish note, saying the bloc is bouncing back a decade after the global financial meltdown and ensuing euro zone crisis with faster economic growth than the US.

"You have learned nothing from Brexit".

"On Brexit, I'm very pleased that Mrs. But we need to prevent other states from taking advantage of our openness in order to push through their industrial policy interests", German Economic Affairs Minister Brigitte Zypries said in a joint statement with France and Italy.

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Juncker: No new member in EU by 2019