Friday, 22 September 2017

Czech analyst: Juncker tried to unite EU by his EP speech

ČTK |
14 September 2017

Prague, Sept 13 (CTK) - EC President Jean-Claude Juncker tried to unite EU members by his report on the state of the EU presented in the EP on Wednesday, which also contained accommodating gestures towards Central European states, Czech analyst Vit Dostal, from the Association for International Affairs (AMO), has said.

Juncker's words about the euro zone's setup were a significant part of his speech, Dostal told CTK.

Vit Benes, an analyst from the Czech Institute of International Relations (UMV), pointed at Juncker's proposal for changes to the EU election system.

Dostal said the general message of Juncker's speech is important. "It was aimed to unite and show a positive picture. He emphasised the EU's unity and said Europe should not split," Dostal said.

To accommodate the Central European members, Juncker mentioned the problem of the different quality of foods in the EU, which has been mainly criticised by the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, i.e. the Visegrad Four (V4) group, Dostal said.

Juncker "mentioned the question of migration rather moderately. He preferred to emphasise the border protection aspects," Dostal continued, adding that Juncker did not mention the migrant relocation quotas at all.

The Czech Republic is among the countries that are opposed to the quotas which the EU interior ministers approved two years ago.

From the point of view of the EU's further development, Juncker's position on the euro zone's future was the most important of all, Dostal continued.

"It is important that he unambiguously rejected the creation of new institutions for the euro zone, which would stand aside the legal framework of the current EU. He does not want to create a new parliament for the euro zone," Dostal said.

Benes, for his part, said he views Juncker's vision of the elections to the EP as a challenge.

Juncker said in most countries, EU elections have been but the continuation of the political struggle on the national level. That is why he wants a stronger involvement of European political parties in the campaign and a transnational lineup of the lists of candidates.

According to Benes, the first step to enhance EU issues in EU elections may be the candidacy of European parties, which has been impossible so far.

"If European political parties ran in [EU] elections in all member countries, it would be up to them to show whether they are capable of attracting voters," Benes said.

He expressed doubt at voters across Europe knowing any representatives of European parties.

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