20/09/2017 | Clifford Chance
The President of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has delivered his 2017 State of the Union address to the EU Parliament at Strasbourg. The speech set out a roadmap for the EU and a vision for how the EU could evolve by 2025.
In relation to the euro, Juncker proposed a euro-accession instrument to offer technical and potential financial assistance to Member States that want to join the euro. Moreover, he set out his view that all Member States should be encouraged to join the Banking Union. President Juncker also called for the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to graduate progressively to a European Monetary Fund, proposals on which will be published in December. Moreover, the address called for a European Minister of Economy and Finance who would build on the work of the Commission under its Structural Reform Support Service and who would coordinate all EU financial instruments that can be deployed to a Member State in recession or another fundamental crisis. The speech set out a model whereby the Commissioner for economic and financial affairs would assume the role of the Economy and Finance Minister, who would also preside the Eurogroup. President Juncker argued that a separate budget or parliament for the euro area would not be necessary.
The speech also addressed strengthening EU democracy and, among other things, set out President Juncker's view that merging the roles of Commission President and European Council President would be more efficient and enable the institutions to function better.
The speech also discussed issues relating to taking decisions in the Council by qualified majority in relation to certain tax measures, establishing a European Labour Authority, and priorities for the coming year, including the proposal to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand and the establishment of a European Cybersecurity Authority.