From ‘Global Payer’ to ‘Global Player’: Junker Wants EU to Flex More Foreign Policy Muscle

Written by | Friday, September 14th, 2018

The European Union should start positioning itself more as a world power as the United States is withdrawing from the global stage under President Donald Trump, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on Wednesday (12 September) during his State of the Union address in Strasbourg. The key theme of his speech was “sovereignty” and the EU’s collective potential to have a say on world policy. Jean-Claude Juncker is beginning his last year in the office before Europeans elect their new body of representatives in May 2019.

President Juncker also reminded Europeans of their unity – however hard it may seem – amidst the multiple challenges facing Europe today, ranging from immigration to rising nationalism to the threats to democratic values with right-wing leaders getting power across the bloc. The head of the EU also talked about his latest trade concessions with US President Donald Trump and emphasized China’s renewed interest in working with Brussels to keep international trade flowing.

In this vein, the EU Commission President highlighted the need to promote the euro as a world currency. Specifically, EU leadership questions why EU’s energy import are priced out in US dollars when almost none of them come from the United States. The EU will also likely want to finalize the free trade with Japan as soon as possible – one of the major trade deals consolidating the EU’s world trade influence. The proposed new “Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs between Europe and Africa” was also mentioned during Mr. Juncker’s speech as Brussels believe that the continent should slowly move from an aid model to a trade model.

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