State of the EU: Commission President Juncker to address Parliament

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will discuss the challenges facing Europe on 9 September from 9.00 CET. It will be his first State of the European Union speech since Parliament elected him to the post following the EU elections in May 2014. It has been a testing time for Europe with lacklustre economic growth, high debt and unemployment levels and a serious refugee crisis. Find out what leading MEPs expect from the address and follow our live coverage on Wednesday.

A serious debate on EU politics
The State of the EU address is an opportunity for Juncker to present the Commission’s views on the current state of Europe and the way forward. As the EU’s only  directly elected-institution, Parliament is responsible for overseeing the work of the EU’s executive body.

What MEPs expect from the address

Manfred Weber (EPP)Never have the challenges lying ahead for Europe been so enormous. On stability, on growth and jobs, on the fight against terrorism, on security issues and migration, but also on foreign affairs, the need for a Europe that is strong and that makes its voice heard in the world is huge.

We need to come up with solutions and demonstrate Europe’s added value. We expect the European Commission to deliver on this and to make bold and ambitious proposals to that end. European problems require European solutions.

Gianni Pittella (S&D)

The discussion in plenary on the State of the Union will be a unique opportunity to ask for change in Europe. The Greek crisis and the migration crisis have brought a sense of urgency. Either we act now or Europe will have failed.

We believe that it is time to carry out a new European offensive. We want a European asylum policy paving the way for a true EU migration policy. We must strengthen the economic and monetary union through a stronger involvement of Parliament and the development of a EU fiscal capacity to support our economy. We also need a more progressive taxation to fight against tax fraud and avoidance because companies must pay their taxes where they make their profits. We also want a Europe that is more sustainable, investing in a circular economy. We will fight to change Europe.

Syed Kamall (ECR)

I am hoping to hear some practical and realistic solutions from Mr Juncker that people can understand and buy into. Too often in these speeches we hear a lot of idealism but not a lot of realism. Clearly all European countries – and other Western nations – must play their role to help on the migration crisis, but a compulsory one-size-fits-all relocation system risks intensifying the finger pointing that has characterised this crisis in recent weeks.

Above all, I am expecting Mr Juncker to be frank about the challenges the EU faces –we need to start finding some real solutions – even if those solutions are not in line with the 1950s dreams of some European federalists.

Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE)

I urge Council President Donald Tusk to also come to the Parliament and outline his proposals to make the heads of state work together to find a solution to this humanitarian disaster.

Gabi Zimmer (GUE/NGL)

We expect from representatives of governing elites to call for a halt to the neoliberal dismantling of welfare states, provide answers to growing unemployment, put a stop to attacks on social and workers’ rights and urgently offer safe haven to refugees.

Philippe Lamberts (Greens)

The chaotic and, in places, inhumane response to the refugee emergency across Europe is now clearly a threat to the common values on which the EU is founded. Europe’s internal squabbling and lack of solidarity is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis for which we share responsibility.

National egotism is also standing in the way of a lasting and just solution to the Euro crisis, notably in Greece. The social and humanitarian crisis in Greece needs to be a much greater focus of the EU response, as does providing a viable economic perspective for the country.

On climate change, Europe has gone from being a leader to a laggard. We are witnessing EU governments and the Commission increasingly standing in the way of measures to reduce climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions.

Nigel Farage (EFDD)

The EU is in a state of disunion.

Juncker’s speech will start at 9.00 CET and will be followed by a debate with MEPs. You can follow all of it on the EP special website that featuring a live video stream, a Twitter wall and real-time coverage with key quotes from the debate, tweets, photos and videos.