Today, Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, addressed the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg (France) for his first State of the Union Speech.
The State of the Union Speech is intended to be an overview of the main developments on which the European Union has been working in the past months, and on the European Commission’s plans and projects for the forthcoming ones. After Mr Juncker’s speech, Members of the European Parliament, by political group, and the representative of the European Council, are entitled an intervention to foster a debate.
Mr Juncker’s speech mainly centered around the refugee crisis Europe is currently faced with, with hundreds of thousand of migrants and asylum seekers fleeing conflict zones in Africa abut also Syria, Libya and Egypt. The Commission president and the Members of Parliament exchanged a heart felt and long debate over the European Union’s responsibility in the fostering of refugees, and the development of new, or amendment of current, EU legislation regarding asylum seekers and refugees.
In addition, the issues of climate change and environmental challenges; the Greek economic crisis; the status of the EU’s internal market; the situation of Ukraine and unemployment were also thoroughly discussed during the debate.
There was no mention of the Middle East or the Gulf during Mr Juncker’s speech, and Human Rights were raised sporadically, and only in the context of the refugee crisis. Mr Juncker’s speech was too long, resulting in him not delivering the whole text to the chamber. However, the full official transcript of his speech can be found here.