Sputnik News – January 17, 2018
The crisis in relations between Poland and the EU seems to have escalated beyond what either side anticipated. On Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was forced to emphasize that the bloc was “not at war with Poland,” notwithstanding Brussels deployment of Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, which paves the way to sanctions, up to the deprivation of Poland’s voting rights in the European Council, unless Warsaw mends its ways.
According to Prokudin and Ardaev, to Russian observers, the issue is simple: “Warsaw doesn’t want to be an eternal periphery of the EU or any kind of ‘second-class Europe’.” Polish politicians, on the contrary, “intend to teach European bureaucrats about European and Christian values and, possibly, turn their own country into a new center of power.” But for this to happen, Warsaw would have to take the seemingly unlikely step of making friends with their eastern neighbor, Russia.
Last week, EC president Donald Tusk admitted the possibility of Poland may be the next country to leave the EU, saying that the government in Warsaw may push for “freedom from the burden” of continued membership once EU subsidies run out.
DW – January 16, 2018
As European Union negotiators kicked off preparations for the second round of Brexit talks, European Council President Donald Tusk on Tuesday urged the UK to rethink its divorce from the bloc.
“Brexit will become a reality, with all its negative consequences, in March next year, unless there is a change of heart among our British friends,” Tusk posted on Twitter. “We here on the continent haven’t had a change of heart. Our hearts are still open to you.”
Unless there is a change of heart among our British friends, #Brexit will become a reality – with all its negative consequences – March next year. We, here on the continent, haven’t had a change of heart. Our hearts are still open for you.
Picking up on Tusk’s remarks, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, whose executive arm is negotiating the terms of the UK’s departure, said he hoped Brussels’ wishes would be “heard in London.”
Chloe Kerr – January 11, 2018
Protests kicked off in Sofia on the same night as Bulgaria takes over its first Presidency of the European Council from January 2018 until June 2018.
EU commissioners are in the city as Bulgaria begins its presidency – and guests at the opening ceremony of the presidency in Sofia, including European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Council head Donald Tusk.
The Sofia Globe reports 11 protests are being held across the city tonight.
Former president Rossen Plevneliev said: “These protests are not a symbol of future political action, but they are telling us something important – the whole political elite has not done its job over the years.”
Jordan Bhatt – December 4, 2017
Nationalist leaders from across the United Kingdom have voiced their concerns over a possible deal that could see Northern Ireland continue under EU trade laws and regulations.
In a bid to maintain the peace between Northern Ireland and the Republic, leaked reports have suggested that there would be no divergence in law across the island of Ireland, even after Brexit.
But leaders from the devolved regions have all raised concerns with the plans.
In Brussels, Theresa May was forced to exit talks without a signed deal.
Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said that there was no deal reached but that it was still possible by the end of the week.
Vijeta Uniyal – September 13, 2017
In his State of the Union speech, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker laid out his plan to impose a single currency on all the 28 EU member states. Presently only 19 members of the EU have introduced the euro as their official currency. Juncker also called for a more centralized union with its own ‘European finance minister’ and ‘European monetary fund.” He “wants to make the euro compulsory throughout the European Union, including in poorer eastern countries,” the British newspaper Daily Express noted.
The EU Chief’s statements come at a time when several eurozone countries face severe economic and social crises, often a direct result of fiscal imbalances caused from a single European currency. The youth unemployment in Greece, Spain and Italy ranges between 40 and 50 percent. Despite the rescue packages worth more than € 200 billion, the Greek economy is still teetering on the verge of total bankruptcy.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who was in the EU parliament during the State of the Union speech in his capacity as the British MEP, lambasted Juncker’s proposal to expand the powers of the EU without consulting the people, comparing the EU to the Communist Soviet Union.
Nick Gutteridge – March 31, 2017
EUROPEAN Union boss Jean-Claude Juncker issued a jaw-dropping threat to the United States, saying he could campaign to break up the country in revenge for Donald Trump’s supportive comments about Brexit.
In an extraordinary speech the EU Commission president said he would push for Ohio and Texas to split from the rest of America if the Republican president does not change his tune and become more supportive of the EU.
The remarks are diplomatic dynamite at a time when relations between Washington and Brussels are already strained over Europe’s meager contributions to NATO and the US leader’s open preference for dealing with national governments.
A spokesman for the bloc later said that the remarks were not meant to be taken literally, but also tellingly did not try to pass them off as humorous and insisted the EU chief was making a serious comparison.
RT – March 24, 2017
The chief of the European Commission has warned US president Donald Trump against encouraging countries to copy Britain’s exit from the EU, arguing that a break-up of the bloc could lead to a war in the Balkans.
Jean-Claude Juncker, speaking in an interview with the Financial Times, called Trump’s enthusiasm for Britain’s departure from the EU “annoying” and “surprising.”
Trump did indeed express his approval for Britain’s departure from the bloc, even labeling himself ‘Mr. Brexit’ during the US presidential campaign. He also became closely associated with the populist right-wing British politician Nigel Farage, then the leader of the UK Independence Party, who was one of those who led the push for the UK’s exit from the EU.
Juncker said he delivered his warning via Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Brussels last month.
“I told the vice president, ‘Do not say that, do not invite others to leave, because if the European Union collapses, you will have a new war in the Western Balkans,’” Juncker said.
Sputnik News – March 25, 2017
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the European Union would never turn into the United States of Europe, in an interview published Saturday.
“I was never … a supporter of the concept of the United States of Europe. We will never witness that the European Union becomes a state,” Juncker told German heute news outlet in an interview on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the European Union.
Juncker also said that he had no doubt the European Union would celebrate its 100-year anniversary once and expressed hope the bloc would preserve its cultural diversity.
Earlier in the day, leaders of 27 EU member states signed the Rome Declaration on the challenges and priorities of the post-Brexit European Union. The declaration is the main outcome of the Rome Summit, dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations of the European Union back in 1957.
DW – March 24, 2017
Pope Francis said Europe faced a “vacuum of values” during an audience with EU leaders in the Vatican on Friday. Ahead of a celebration for the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome on Saturday, Francis condemned anti-immigrant populism and extremism as mortal threats to the bloc.
“When a body loses its sense of direction and is no longer able to look ahead, it experiences a regression and, in the long run, risks dying,” he told heads of state and government from 27 EU member states, as well as EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“The first element of European vitality must be solidarity,” he said, arguing that this would be “the most effective antidote to modern forms of populism.”
The Argentinian-born pontiff told the leaders they needed to promote Europe’s “patrimony of ideals and spiritual values” more vigorously. Francis said the EU needed to close the gap between its citizens and institutions, adding that Brussels was “often perceived as distant and inattentive.”
Donna Rachel Edmunds – December 8, 2016
The European Commission has launched a youth volunteer “solidarity” corps to foster unity with the European Union, by encouraging young people to relocate within Europe for up to a year to participate in social schemes.
With youth unemployment in some EU member states running as high as 46.5 per cent, the Commission has drawn up a scheme for 18-30-year-olds whereby they can take up voluntary placements, supplemented by a grant, or occupational placements such as traineeships or apprenticeships in a range of sectors.
It hopes to enrol 100,000 within the corps by the end of 2020 with the aim of fostering solidarity between member states, by engaging them primarily to assist with tackling national crises.
The corps was first announced by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his 2016 State of the Union address, in which he said: “We often show solidarity most readily when faced with emergencies.