EU President Juncker's state of the union speech


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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (L) talks with European Parliament President Martin Schulz ahead of his address, about migrants crisis, to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 9, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Vincent Kessler European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (L) talks with European Parliament President Martin Schulz ahead of his address, about migrants crisis, to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 9, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Vincent Kessler


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered a 'state of the union' speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday, including new proposals to tackle the migrant crisis facing the bloc.
The following are key quotes and points from his speech:
"We are not in a good state. There is a lack of Europe in the EU and there is a lack of union in the European Union. That has to change."
"We Europeans should remember that Europe is a continent where nearly everyone at some point has been a refugee."
Juncker mentioned historic huge waves of Irish, Scottish and Polish immigration to the United States.
"We Europeans should know and never forget why the right to asylum is one of the fundamental, most important rights. We should not forget that."
"It is true that Europe cannot house all the misery in the world. But we have to put it into perspective."
"There is certainly an important and unprecedented number of refugees coming to Europe at the moment. However, they still represent just 0.11 pct of the total EU population. In Lebanon refugees represent 25 pct of population which has just 1/5 of the wealth of the EU."
"As long as there is war in Syria, the refugee crisis will not simply go away."
"We are fighting the Islamic state -- why are we not ready to accept those fleeing the Islamic State?"
Juncker says European Commission proposes a quota system for the relocation of 120,000 migrants, in addition to the 40,000 it proposed in May.
"This has to be done in a compulsory way... 160,000 that's the number. I hope that this time everyone will be on board. No rhetoric, action is what is needed."
"Winter is approaching, do we really want families sleeping in railway stations, in tents on cold nights?"
"Europe has made the mistake in the past of distinguishing between Jews, Christians, Muslims. There is no religion, no belief no philosophy when it comes to refugees."
The Commission is also proposing a list of safe countries, whose citizens' applications for a visa in the EU will be treated faster and will be most likely rejected. Juncker says it should include EU candidate nations of the western Balkans and Turkey.
"The countries on the list of safe countries have to know that if they are taken off the list, they are losing their right to become members of the EU."
Juncker calls on member states to allow asylum seekers to work.
"We should do everything to change our nation legisaltion to allow refugees to work from day one when they arrive."
He also calls for a comprehensive review of the rules governing asylums applications in the EU.
"It is time we prepare a more fundamental change in the way we deal with asylum applications - and notably the Dublin system that requires that asylum applications be dealt with by the first country of entry. We need more Europe in our asylum policy."
Juncker also says control of the EU's external borders must be strengthened and says Commission will propose early in 2016 a system to allow legal migration into the European Union.
"We need to strengthen (the EU agency for border controls) Frontex significantly and develop it into a fully operational European border and coast guard system. It is certainly feasible. This is why we will propose ambitious steps towards a European Border and Coast Guard before the end of the year."
"We are an ageing continent in demographic decline. Migration must change from being a problem to being a well-managed resource. Migration has to be legalised. We have to organise legal ways to Europe."
"The Commission will come forward with a well-designed legal migration package in early 2016."
Juncker asks EU member states to raise 1.8 billion euro emergency fund for African countries.
"Today the Commission is proposing to establish an emergency Trust Fund, starting with 1.8 billion from our common EU financial means to address the crises in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions, the Horn of Africa, and the North of Africa."
On proposed EU-U.S. free trade deal (TTIP)
"I'm in favout of TTIP treaty. But I'm not in favour of giving up European standards, European principles."
Juncker said the security of the Baltic states and other EU members in eastern Europe was vital.
"The security and the borders of the EU member states are untouchable and I want this to be understood very clearly in Moscow. We are there now and we will there if ever it will be needed."
"The EU must show Russia the cost of confrontation but it must also make clear it is prepared to engage."
"I want member states to be as ambitious as possible on the way to Paris (UN climate change conference) but the EU should not sign just any deal."
He added any global deal should be "ambitious, robust and binding"

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