Wednesday

26th Jun 2019

Juncker foresees two-speed Europe

  • 'It will no longer be possible that 33, 34 or 35 states will proceed at the same speed' (Photo: EPP)

The European Union will have to develop a framework in which some core member states can do everything together and others will be less involved, Jean-Claude Juncker, EU commission president, said on Wednesday (18 November).

"I think that, eventually, it will no longer be possible that 33, 34 or 35 states will proceed at the same speed with the same momentum in the same direction,” Juncker said in a discussion with citizens in Brussels.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The 28-member EU is in accession talks with countries in the Balkans with the aim of having them join the bloc eventually. Juncker said at the start of his presidency, however, that there will be no enlargement under his mandate until 2019.

Of the 28 EU countries, some already work more closely together on certain issues than they do with others.

Most notably, the 19 member states that share the euro currency coordinate budget policies and have a banking union in which all the large eurozone banks are under a single supervisor, the European Central Bank.

They also have a common method of winding down failed banks with a joint fund to cover the costs. The Schengen states, meanwhile, share a common external border and have dismantled border checks amongst themselves.

Juncker added that the EU should reconsider its organisation to make sure members may share policies at different speeds, if they wish, Reuters reported.

"One day we should rethink the European architecture with a group of countries that will do things, all things, together, and others that will position themselves in an orbit away from the core," Juncker said.

His predecessor, Jose Manuel Barroso, former EU commission president, opposed allowing a split within the EU and creating core and non-core EU countries – a two-speed Europe.

Speaking at the event, Juncker also declared: “Brexit will not happen”.

He added: “I spent three years of my life to avoid Grexit. I will not spend three years of my life to facilitate Brexit.”

British prime minister David Cameron is aiming to secure economic safeguards for non-eurozone countries during the UK membership negotiations with Brussels and wants to be excluded from an “ever closer union”, a principle enshrined in the EU treaty.

Juncker also said on Wednesday that the commission is planning to present next year a proposal on “common, minimum social rights to be applied in all member states”.

Juncker also reinstated his call for a European army and argued for a common defence policy in the EU.

Merkel speaks out for two-speed Europe

German Chancellor Merkel has said she will push ahead with plans for a political union, including more powers to Brussels and a two-speed Europe if necessary.

Maltese PM hails pope, calls for multispeed EU

Malta's prime minister Joseph Muscat said that Pope Francis has "the skills and vision" to inspire the EU and that some EU countries should integrate more to be able to act.

EU founding states pledge deeper integration

The six founding members of the EU have recommitted to building a more integrated union, while acknowledging others may move at their own pace, backing the idea of a "two-speed" Europe.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us