The State of the Union Address is an annual event established by the Lisbon Treaty where the President of the European Commission reviews the work of the European executive and outlines the European Commission’s future proposals for the coming year. This speech is delivered in September to the European Parliament in plenary session in Strasbourg. Originally, the President of the Commission only addressed a general policy speech at the beginning of his term of office, i.e. every five years.
The State of the Union speech thus makes it possible to explain and discuss the Commission’s objectives and plans for the other four years, in order to increase Parliament’s control over the executive.
The first State of the Union speech was delivered by Commission President José Manuel Barroso in September 2010, one year after his re-election. It is broadcasted live over Europe by Satellite and on Europarltv.
The current President of the European Commission is Jean-Claude Juncker. He has given, until now, the address 4 times, starting from 2015 till 2018. Following you can find a glimpse into the content and discussed topics of the State of the Union address.
On 9 September 2015, Jean-Claude Juncker gave his first speech on the state of the Union. In institutional matters, he called for the President of the Commission to be a political president in order to give visibility to the function and improve citizens’ political participation.
In particular, it addresses the issue of the refugee crisis. It indicates that 500 000 Syrian refugees are currently in the territory of the Union, representing 0.11% of the European population. It calls for determined action by the Member States and the Union, in particular to help Hungary, Italy and Greece. It calls for their humanity and historical justice.
Jean-Claude Juncker also insists on the cause of the refugee crisis, the war in Libya and Syria, and reminds us that, as long as European states fight the Islamic state, they must also welcome those seeking their protection. It thus applauds the efforts of Jordan and Lebanon. It proposes a reform of the Dublin II Regulation, which states that the country where an asylum seeker must submit his application is the country in which he entered the Union, in order to lighten the burden on the Member States.
The European Commission is therefore proposing an Emergency Trust Fund to resolve crises and prevent the emergence of new ones. He concluded on this subject that the Commission would propose a European migration and asylum policy in early 2016.
On the subject of the euro zone, he stressed that the international representation of the zone must be improved. The President of the euro zone must be its sole representative and must be the only one to represent it in the IMF.