Juncker calls for European finance minister

Frederick Owens
September 13, 2017

Calling for a summit in Romania on March 30, 2019, the first day of an European Union of 27 member states, rather than 28, Juncker said he hoped the continent would that day "wake up" to a more unified bloc.

Mr Juncker said he wanted use of the euro, membership of the Schengen agreement - which abolishes internal borders, and the banking union set up after the eurozone crisis to become standard.

The Party of European Socialists for instance, under the leadership of Sergei Stanishev, wrote to Juncker in order to outline the party's wishes for the EU to champion individual rights and social justice together with the single market and other economic goals.

"The wind is back in Europe's sail", he said in an upbeat hour-long annual State of the European Union address in Strasbourg, France. The reforms linked to the tighter integration and averting a so-called two-speed Europe.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that Britain will regret its decision to leave the European Union and that the bloc will "move on" after London's departure.

While the two Black Sea neighbors, which joined the 28-nation bloc in 2007, have met Schengen entry requirements for some time, they've struggled to garner political support from all member states on joining it.

But he said there had to be reciprocity in trade deals: "We have to get as much as much as we give". We will move on.

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Mr Junker noted the wrapping up of a trade deal with Canada during the previous year, and negotiations on deals with Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Juncker also said he wanted to expand the use of the euro - a call that might dismay north European nations anxious about the potential internal strains of bringing Romania and Bulgaria into the single currency. He also urged the Turkish authorities to stop calling the Europeans fascists and Nazis, RIA Novosti reported.

The union appears to have the upper hand in negotiations with the United Kingdom over its departure, and the threat of populism has receded, so this year's speech conveyed a renewed level of confidence and optimism.

Responding to Mr Juncker's comments, Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said: "What we are absolutely focused on is making the best of the opportunities provided by Brexit. I suggest that we prepare for this moment well, amongst the 27 and within the European Union institutions", Juncker said, calling for a special summit in Sibia, Romania.

The eurozone should meanwhile be expanded beyond the 19 countries that now use the single currency, in line with the EU's treaties that say all states must join the euro, he said. "I think you will regret it as well soon, may I say".

The transnational list, which Ms McGuinness said was a "controversial" idea in the parliament and in council, would see some MEPs elected to represent more than one country.

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