In his speech at the European Parliament's plenary session Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, insisted that we are stronger when we work together. ‘The time for action has come. In the area of security, as in many other areas in Europe, fragmentation is what makes us vulnerable. Europe needs a genuine security union', he emphasised.
President Juncker also paid tribute to each of the victims and said that the Commission was in mourning, having lost one of its staff. Lastly, after recalling the large number of initiatives that the Commission had submitted to Parliament, the President undertook over the next few weeks to report on progress made on the security agenda and to set out a roadmap, ambitious in terms of both its content and its schedule, for new measures to be taken.
In his speech on the March European Council, President Juncker emphasised the importance of the agreement between the European Union and Turkey on management of the refugee crisis. ‘We must replace this heinous trafficking of human beings with legal, controlled movements of asylum seekers', stated President Juncker. Since the agreement was implemented on 4 April, 325 irregular migrants have been sent back from Greece to Turkey and 79 Syrian refugees have been resettled from Turkey to Europe.
The President emphasised that the agreement would not make the European Union in any way less committed to fundamental rights. Any attempt to restrict freedom of expression ‘would move us further away from Turkey, not bring us closer to it', he said. Looking ahead, President Juncker insisted that the principle of solidarity must be the cornerstone of the reforms to be adopted by the Commission over the next few months. ‘We cannot abandon any Member State to face the crisis alone. A country's place on the map should not determine its share of the work to be done.' The speeches are available online.
- Speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the European Parliament plenary session on the fight against terrorism following the recent attacks