President Juncker addresses European Parliament plenary session

Today in Strasbourg, European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, addressed the plenary session of the European Parliament on the outcome of the European Council of 20-21 October. Regarding the EU-Canada trade agreement, CETA, President Juncker hoped the Belgian federal government and its regional counterparts would be able to come to an agreement “in the course of the day”. He also underlined that finding a solution was more important than insisting on a signature of the Agreement tomorrow: “What matters, is for the agreement to be reached today so that the kingdom of Belgium can sign the agreement at the appropriate moment“. Turning to the broader debate on trade defence, the President underlined that the EU needed urgently to strengthen its current instruments, as the Commission set out in its communication of 18 October on a ‘Robust trade policy for the EU in the interest of jobs and growth’. “The Americans defend their industry and especially their steel industry – we must do the same,” said the President. On migration, President Juncker highlighted progress under the EU-Turkey Statement: “In the six months preceding the entry into force of the EU-Turkey Statement, the total number of migrants arriving from Turkey to Greece was 739,000; in the six months following the agreement, this figure fell to 18,000, that is, a difference of 721,000 migrants.” Regarding the Commission’s strategy for jobs and growth, the President welcomed the European Council’s support for the next phase of the Investment Plan for Europe, where the Commission has proposed to double the capacity and duration of the European Fund for Strategic Investments.