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Jean-Claude Juncker wants the euro for all

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 | World News

Ten days before the Bundestag election comes a bump from Brussels: EU Commission President Juncker wants to rebuild the European Union with far-reaching measures. He wants more member states, a larger euro area and Schengen area – and an EU president. He critically criticizes the governments of Poland and Hungary. He concludes Turkey's accession in the foreseeable future.

All EU countries are to accept the euro and join the Schengen zone without border controls, Juncker said in his principle speech in the Europaparlament on Wednesday. "If we want to strengthen the protection of our external borders, we must immediately open the Schengen area to Romania and Bulgaria." Croatia should also be given full Schengen membership as soon as it fulfills the criteria. In addition, the EU will continue to grow by the countries of the Western Balkans: by 2025 it could have around 30 members.

The desired expansion of the euro zone means that EU-critical countries such as Hungary or Poland should also introduce the single currency. It should also apply in poor EU countries like Romania or Bulgaria. As an official payment, the euro is not introduced in the EU countries Bulgaria, Denmark, Croatia, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Czech Republic and Hungary. Britain, which is currently negotiating its withdrawal from the EU, was never part of the euro area.

But there should be no ditch between Western and Eastern Europe, Juncker said. Differences – for example in the medical care of children – can not be accepted. The same applies to consumer protection. In some Eastern EU countries, lower quality food would be sold than in the West. "Sklowaken earned no less fish in the fish sticks, Czechs do not have chocolate with less cocoa".

Juncker comes to meet Merkel
Juncker spoke out against much more far-reaching reform concepts. He does not want any new structures or changes to the European Treaties – unlike French President Emmanuel Macron, who, for example, wants a Euro finance minister with his own billions budget. Merkel had so far expressed his skepticism about such reforms.

 As a compromise, Juncker wants a vice-president of the Commission to be the full-time head of the Eurogroup – a kind of "Mr. Euro" without a new bureaucracy apparatus. The EU budget is intended to provide a separate title for the Eurozone. From this, Juncker wants to finance, among other things, aid for EU countries like Romania or Bulgaria to make them fit for the euro.

Only one Presidency in the EU
In the future there will be only one EU presidency. His own office was to be merged with that of the President-in-Office, Juncker suggested. This would make the EU more efficient and easier for citizens to understand, he argued. Juncker, however, did not want to stand for the office himself.

  Juncker used hard criticism to the Hungarian government for her refusal to accept a ruling from the European Court of Justice on the refugee rate. "The rule of law is not an option in the European Union, it is a duty," said the President of the Commission. "The judgments of the European Court of Justice must be respected in all cases, not respecting them or undermining the independence of national courts means depriving citizens of their fundamental rights."

The European Commission is also pushing for a reform of the judiciary, which has been pushed forward by the national conservative government in Poland, which, according to experts, undermines the independence of the judiciary.

To Erdogan: "Leave our journalists free!"
"For all of the acceding countries, the rule of law, the judiciary and the fundamental values ​​are top negotiating priorities," said Juncker. "This excludes an EU membership of Turkey in the foreseeable future." Because this has been "for a long time with giant steps from the European Union".

He directly addressed the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: "Journalists belong to editorial offices, not to jail," said Juncker. "Leave our journalists free!" He should stop insulting European leaders as fascists and Nazis. Anyone who deliberately offends insults the way to the EU, possibly on purpose, to blame the other side later. "But we will keep our hand out for the great Turkish people."

Free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand
Irrespective of the reform debate, Juncker is planning further initiatives for the coming months. "Europe is open to trade, but it must be reciprocal." Against the backdrop of the protectionist US course, negotiations on free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand are to be started – with the greatest possible transparency. National and regional parliaments are to be informed comprehensively from day one.

In addition, the Brussels Authority proposes to scrutinize investors from third countries in the future. This will allow more rigorous scrutiny of acquisitions from countries such as China. This would be necessary, for example, if foreign national companies wanted to take over important European ports or armaments technology companies. European policy has the responsibility to "protect our common security".

This also includes continuing to include asylum seekers. Europe is not a fortress, but a continent of hope. Legal migration routes would have to be created and the scandalous situation in refugees camps in Libya should be ended. However, according to Juncker, refugees without a claim to asylum would have to be sent back more consistently than before, in order to help those who are really needy.

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