Sep 13 2017

What will we hear during the State of the Union in 2017?

Category: News, Campaigns

What will we hear during the State of the Union in 2017?

On September 13th, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will give his fourth State of the Union address (SOTEU) in front of the European Parliament’s plenary. In 2016, Juncker announced the launch of the European Solidarity Corps. With great curiosity, JEF Europe is looking forward to see what new initiatives and European challenges will be put forward this time. JEF Europe will live-tweet with the twitter handle @JEF_Europe #SOTEU.

After a disastrous year for the unity of Europe, we, as Young European Federalists, think the Union should urgently provide solutions to now long-standing problems Europeans have been facing. We consider these pressing issues essential to tackle in order to achieve the vision of #ourEurope, a fair, prosperous, sustainable and democratic Europe.

The EU should start delivering on its promises towards the European youth. For years now, we are at risk of losing an entire generation of young Europeans. Since the economic and financial crisis, the youth unemployment rate has hardly declined. In 2016, the figures were appalling: more than 20% of young people were unemployed in 11 countries, with numbers going up to 47,3% in Greece. Despite having the highest education levels, young people are still paying the biggest price for the crisis, being subject to precarious working conditions and social exclusion.

Acting for the well-being of future generations, it is crucial that European leaders immediately take action against climate change. Hurricane Irma has reached EU territory, and heat wave Lucifer hit Europe this summer - there is no doubt climate change is seriously impacting our lives. There is no time to waste on only waging fingers at other international players; we need to take the lead and be a rolemodel ourselves by fully implementing the Paris Agreement.

If we want #ourEurope to be a model of peace, democracy and justice, we need to make sure that European values are respected everywhere in the EU. For almost half a decade, the Union has been confronted with several rule of law crisis threatening the well-functioning of our democracies. The European institutions have proven to weakly respond to the necessary upholding of our fundamental values when rogue Member states tend to forget what holds us together. We are expecting the President of the Commission to show an uncompromising stance on the protection of human rights and civil liberties of European citizens.

But what Juncker definitely needs to address is the future of Europe, a process initiated by the Commission White Paper: will the often-mentioned “sixth scenario” be explained tomorrow or will Juncker wait for the German elections? Will he propose a supranational, democratic, and efficient way of governing? And with the Brexit negotiations going on, will we hear a commitment towards giving the parliamentary seats of British MEPs to those who will have been elected by transnational lists?

Stay tuned! Answers are coming on September 13th at 9 am CET. Follow our twitter handle @JEF_Europe.

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The Young European Federalists (JEF) Europe is a non-partisan youth NGO active in more than 30 countries. From discussion rounds and seminars to teaching “Europe in class”, JEF members engage for Europe in different ways. The organisation strives towards a federal Europe based on the principles of democracy and subsidiarity as well as respect for human rights.