EU to Solidify External Borders without ‘Militarizing’, Juncker Vows in Last State of the Union Address
The European Union is going to send 10,000 additional border guards to its external borders without, however, ending up “militarizing”, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared in his last annual State of the Union address.
In addition to promising additional funding for the EU border agency Frontex, Juncker said he wanted to expand it to help process the applications of asylum seekers.
The EC President spoke in favor of establishing legal routes of migration into Europe as the European Union needed qualified migrants.
Juncker also urged tangible solutions with a balanced EU-wide reform on migration, rather than ad hoc moves.
“Europe will never become a fortress turning its back on the world, especially those suffering in the world,” he vowed at the same time.
The EC chief also defended the borderless Schengen Zone, which includes most of the EU member states as well as the countries from the European Economic Area. He declared himself against internal borders, and in favor of removing them, wherever they existed.
Juncker also revealed that the European Commission is proposing new rules designed to counter terrorist propaganda. Under them, it would have to be removed within one hour.
Further security measures to be proposed by the EC include new rules to protect elections from other countries, a seeming hint at Russia’s attempts to sway elections in Western states through fake news, misinformation, and cybercrime.
In his last State of the Union address, Juncker also argued that the EU had the capacity to influence world affairs.
“I’m a convinced multilateralist and if Europe realizes its political, economic and sometimes military power we will no longer have to be alone in the world,” Juncker declared.
He said he had relaunched the European defense union and would continue to work on it to make it fully operation.
While called for a “strong united Europe”, the EC President argued the EU would not be militarized in spite of the further steps towards intra-EU military cooperation.
In his words, the EU derives its sovereignty from its nation states but without replacing them.
He called for overcoming differences between north and south and east and west within the Union in order to demonstrate that the EU gets results before the 2019 European elections.
“We’re all responsible for the Europe of today. We must all take responsibility for the Europe of tomorrow. Such is history: parliaments and commissions come and go, Europe is here to stay. We can’t be a spectator but an architect of tomorrow’s world,” Juncker stated at the end of his last annual State of the Union speech.
The EC President also commented on Brexit by stating the UK would not be able to remain part of the European single market in any way once it leaves the Union.
(Banner image: Jean-Claude Juncker on Twitter)