Minister-president praises Juncker’s State of the Union address

Summary

Geert Bourgeois appreciates EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s bottom-up approach to government as well as his concerns about social dumping

Free market conditions

Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois has praised the “clear vision” for the EU expressed in the State of the Union address given by EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured) at the start of the new political year.

“This debate about the future is an opportunity for the EU to partake of some self-reflection,” Bourgeois said. “I am pleased that the president of the European Commission made no plea for an institutional big bang, a European super-state or a sterile more-or-less Europe debate, but for a better Europe that takes account of a multi-level governing context where the union only intervenes where it can make a difference.”

Bourgeois welcomed the news that a new task force on subsidiarity – the principle whereby action is taken only at the lowest level possible, whether national, regional or local – will be chaired by Dutch Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans. The task force will consult with national parliaments to determine in which areas the EU can best take action, and where it should be left to national or regional governments.

Bourgeois went on to reference Juncker’s statements on creating free market conditions within Europe in areas like energy, transport and the digital economy, as well as regulations on social dumping – where companies save money by hiring workers from lower-wage countries to perform work in higher-wage countries. 

And he called for a humane but strict migration policy, with internal borders within the Schengen zone removed and external borders strictly maintained. Only this way, he said, could EU member states work together on helping refugees.
Photo
: Zinneke/Wikimedia

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