European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will give a landmark annual speech before the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg on 13 September in which he will outline his vision for the future of Europe. According to the sources close to Mr. Juncker, his speech will include some new initiatives, though the focus will not be on Mr. Juncker’s legacy but rather on a vision. His speech will be a culmination of the reflection and the thinking behind the future of Europe and the political season that will ensure the state of the union to be almost the last chance for Mr. Juncker to leave his mark on the EU.
President Juncker reportedly wants to use the speech as an occasion to speak about the vision of the European project instead of listing too many specific proposals. President’s team also reached out to the EU capitals to discuss the state of play of the EU and the future they would like to see including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. Last week, Mr. Juncker and his college of commissioners also discussed the most pressing issues dominating the public discourse – the tensions in Poland over the rule of law and the recent developments in Turkey.
In his last year’s state of the union speech, President Juncker highlighted the importance of investment in Europe’s youth, job seekers and start-ups. He also presented an ambitious Investment Plan for Africa, a lifeline for those who might risk their lives in search for a better life in Europe. Digital economy played an important part in this speech when he proposed that each and every European city and village should have free wireless Internet connection by 2020.