State of the Union sneak-peek!
When I got to work today what should I find on my desk but an advance copy of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech! I must say it’s an interesting read. Here are my favourite bits…
“Serious and committed Members of the European Parliament,
“During my 2015 speech I noted that the State of the Union left something to be desired. In 2016 I said that the same was true and much needed changing for the better. I am very pleased to start my 2017 speech on a much more positive note, as these are, overall, good times for the EU.
“Today, more than one year after the EU was shaken by the Brexit vote we have enjoyed positive developments; the Eurozone economy is developing at the fastest pace since the financial crisis, and we have seen citizens reject extreme ideologies in votes in the Netherlands and France.
“Now, we are entering a new phase of European union – one based on a sustainable agenda centred on social justice and participatory democracy.
“As Commission President, I am committed to ensuring that policies prioritise both the economic and social well-being of people in Europe; economic well-being in the form of prosperity for all and the redistribution of wealth, and social well-being in the shape of cultural diversity, creating caring societies, and equal access to quality services.
“Last year, ahead of my speech, I wrote that it is more necessary than ever to listen closely to citizens across Europe in order to ensure effective management of our common challenges. This was true then, and it remains true now. This is why, in line with the treaties, I am proposing the EU institutions put in place certain standards for engagement with civil society to ensure that the voices of all people in Europe are heard in EU decision-making.”
Ok, as you’ve probably guessed by now these aren’t President Juncker’s words – but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be! I’ll be joining many of you across Europe in watching the State of the Union on Wednesday in the hopes that the Commission has recognised that a prosperous Europe is a social one. I just hope that my high hopes become a reality!
Kélig Puyet, Director of Social Platform