“If we want to strengthen the protection of our external borders, then we need to open the Schengen area of free movement to Bulgaria and Romania immediately,” the President of the European Commision Jean-Claude Juncker said during his 30 minute State of the Unuion address on 13th of Septemeber. In his 30 minute speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, he presented his vision of the future of the European Union.
“A more united Union also needs to become more inclusive. If we want to strengthen the protection of our external borders, then we need to open the Schengen area of free movement to Bulgaria and Romania immediately. We should also allow Croatia to become a full Schengen member once it meets all the criteria,“ Juncker said.
He said that Europe must breathe equally with both lungs - the eastern and the western - and that it is unacceptable to have two categories of citizens, a different quality of food or a lower pay for the same work.
“In a Union of equals, there can be no second class consumers. I will not accept that in some parts of Europe,people are sold food of lower quality than in other countries, despite the packaging and branding being identical. Slovaks do not deserve less fish in their fish fingers. Hungarians less meat in their meals. Czechs less cacao in their chocolate. EU law outlaws such practices already. We must now equip national authorities with stronger powers to cut out any illegal practices wherever they exist,” he noted.
Jean-Claude Juncker also said that "the wind is back on European sails," and the continent is becoming more united, and the economy is gaining momentum a year after Brexit.
“All of this leads me to believe: the wind is back in Europe's sails. We now have a window of opportunity but it will not stay open forever.
Let us make the most of the momentum, catch the wind in our sails.
“Europe was battered and bruised by a year that shook our very foundation.
We only had two choices. Either come together around a positive European agenda or each retreat into our own corners. Faced with this choice, I argued for unity.
I proposed a positive agenda to help create – as I said last year – a Europe that protects, empowers and defends, ” Juncker said.