Tuesday

23rd Apr 2019

Juncker envisages EU of core groups

  • Juncker: "This is no longer a time when we can imagine everyone doing the same thing together" (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker has said that EU states which wanted deeper integration should press ahead in core groups in reaction to the UK’s departure.

“We can do many things together, but this is no longer a time when we can imagine everyone doing the same thing together," he said at a speech in the Louvain-la-Neuve university in Belgium on Thursday (23 February).

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

“We have to come up with an answer to this historical question, which is to ask ourselves: 'Do we want to move ahead as 28 - we’ve already lost the 28th [the UK] - or should it not be that those who want to go forward more rapidly can do so without bothering the others by putting in place a more structured framework that is open to everyone?'”, he said.

Referring to a commission policy paper on the issue due out this month, he added: "I will argue for this in the coming days."

He did not specify in which areas he would like to see core-group integration, but his speech praised the single currency, which comprises 19 out of the 28 EU states.

It also said the EU should press ahead with military cooperation, referring to French and German ideas that were to use an EU treaty clause on “structured permanent cooperation” between a coalition of willing countries.

Speaking to the Bloomberg news agency the same day, Austrian chancellor Christian Kern said the Brexit talks, due to start in March, were about bigger issues than just future UK relations.

“Brexit is not only about the relation to Great Britain, it’s about the role and unity of Europe itself and so therefore it’s really a very sensitive negotiation procedure,” he said.

He predicted the talks would be “not as easy as the British expect” and would cause “frustration” among Leave advocates who had expected a “free lunch”.

He said Britain would face a bill of “around €60 billion” on its EU budgetary commitments and warned against the UK trying to turn itself into a tax haven to compete with Europe.

“If they start to reduce their corporate taxes to an unreasonable level, then there will be a certain reaction,” he said.

"They need access to the European market and so they have to behave in a decent and reasonable manner,” the Austrian leader said.

Juncker attacks US on Nato spending

The commission head says the US should count EU development spending as a form of security, in a direct challenge to US comments on Nato.

UK turns from EU to US in 'new age'

British PM to tell US that the two countries should upgrade their “special relationship” amid plans for early talks on a post-EU trade pact.

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.

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. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. EU want Facebook pan-EU advert fix for May elections
  2. Ukraine comic-president invited to EU capitals
  3. Trump's Israel plan to 'test' EU resolve
  4. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  5. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  6. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  7. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  8. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us