Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Juncker Urges EU to Integrate Balkan States

Juncker Urges EU to Integrate Balkan States

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.

Juncker, on the other hand, ruled out European Union membership for Turkey for the foreseeable future, citing what Brussels sees as major human rights transgressions during the past year, after a failed coup in 2016 resulted in mass purges in the army, justice and education systems and the media.

The 62-year-old Juncker has two years left in office as head of the EU's powerful executive to ensure that his legacy is not limited to the departure of one of the European Union's largest states.

"We will always regret this - and I think that you will regret it as well soon, if I might say", Juncker told members of the European Parliament, including Brexit architect Nigel Farage.

"In the European Parliament's resolution we have already said that we think there needs to be close cooperation on internal and external security, but we also said this can not be used as a trade off on other issues like trade relations". Around the same time, several members of the European Union expressed growing discontent over how to handle the migrant crisis, while euroskeptic right-wing parties in several member states gained support.

"We are working towards an ambitious free trade deal and securing a deep and special partnership with the European Union".

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will on Wednesday unfurl plans to deepen EU integration after Brexit, sailing with a change in the wind a year after Britain's shock vote to leave. He called for a summit in Romania on 30 March 2019 for decisions to be taken on a "more united, stronger and democratic Europe".

In a bid to enhance the EU's global role, Juncker said he would ask governments for the authority to begin market-opening negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

He accused Ankara of "moving away from the European Union in leaps and bounds" and criticised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government for the arrest of journalists and a crackdown following an attempted coup a year ago.

"Stop calling our member states and members of governments fascists and Nazis". "But we need to prevent other states from taking advantage of our openness in order to push through their industrial policy interests", Zypries added.

Any changes would also have to be agreed by EU member states and the European Commission.

"Let us make the most of the momentum, catch the wind in our sails", he said.

During his wide-ranging annual speech, Juncker said that the European Union has "regained confidence in the past years".

Mr Juncker called for his own role of Commission president to be merged with that of the Council president and elected following a "pan-European campaign".

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