Each year since 2015 we have reviewed the annual presentation to the European Parliament (EP) given byJean-Claude Juncker (J-C hereafter), the President of the European Commission. These speeches, though they are largely public relations exercises, give us insights (not always intended) into EU thinking and planning. For us our reviews form a theme, which we pull together here.
First is a short post in which we selected a few quotations from the one J-C gave in Strasbourg on 9 September 2015. Here we pick out just one quote, for a comment that has been reinforced over-and-over in the last three years:
“No wind favours he who has no destined port – we need to know where we are headed.” Of course they know exactly where they are headed, though the means may not always acknowledge this. Ever closer union is clear enough but they pretend, for example, that EMU has other benefits than that.
Still More Juncker (State of the Union 2015) (14/05/2016)
Next was a short introductory post to J-C’s September 2016 presentation to the EP. We said that we were against the misguided ideologists of the EU, who can’t see its extreme failures, or can see them but think the present sacrifices are worthwhile. They have faith, but no evidence, that the troubles will pass and history will praise their foresight and vision.
“…our State of the Union moment here in Europe shows very visibly the incomplete nature of our Union.”There’s still too much divergence, i.e. people thinking for themselves.
State of the Union-1 (Summary) (16/09/2016)
We then undertook a critical examination of the speech, which claimed that the priority of the EU is a “deeper and fairer Economic and Monetary Union, combining stability with fairness and democratic accountability”. We referred back to the Five Presidents Report to examine the true agenda and concluded that the declared priority is the veil under which the naked ambition to create a federal Europe is barely hidden. “What our citizens need much more is that someone governs.” He’s telling us what we need – him.
Most of J-C’s presentation was an unrelenting stream of praise for himself and his Commission, and their achievements, flatly contradicting his opening remarks. The purpose, clearly, is to show how wonderful the EU is and how much better it could be if only its members would conform to the overriding ideology.
State of the Union-2 (Critical Examination) (19/09/2016)
Next we looked at an alternative view of J-C’s speech, from The Economist (TE), which is reliably supportive of the EU. The author, who attended the presentation in Strasbourg, wondered why support for the EU was failing, in the eyes of the Commission’s president. We asked whether there could be good reasons for withdrawing support from the EU, many of which are highlighted in our blog.
We noted that J-C was given free rein to vent his emotional outrage at the lack of support for his project, while condemning those ‘populists’ and nationalists who criticise the EU. The question we posed is whether we were heading towards a radical re-assessment of the EU and its foundations or whether the usual passive, uncritical progress towards the super-state would re-assert itself.
TE bemoans the loss of faith in the Project but enjoys its bit of sarcasm: “The annual speech … features the closest thing the EU has to a president, grandstanding before the closest thing it has to a legislature.”
State of the Union-3 (Alternative View) (26/09/2016)
Following the state of the union address the European Council met in Bratislava and issued a bland Declaration, which started with the usual platitudes about the EU having secured peace and democracy in Europe and had enabled “our countries” to prosper, which was obviously untrue of several member states even then.
We quoted some press reviews of the event, including this from the Slovak Spectator: “The first surprising fact was that the leaders of the European Union sailed on the Danube under a German flag … journalists asked whether this gesture was symbolic.”
And this from the Daily Telegraph: “The continent’s deep political divisions were laid bare in spectacular fashion within minutes of EU leaders breaking up from a day of talks…”
We concluded this post thus: with so many disagreements in evidence, with so little agreement on matters of substance, with no one willing to ask why these troubles are multiplying, and with no one questioning the underpinning federalist agenda, it is hard to see how the EU will stop its support continuing to drain away, let alone recover the trust that it no longer feels able to rely on from the citizens of the project. Nevertheless: “We committed in Bratislava to offer to our citizens in the upcoming months a vision of an attractive EU they can trust and support.”
State of the Union-4 (The Bratislava Declaration) (26/09/2016)
On Wednesday 13 September 2017 J-C gave his annual state of the union speech to the European Parliament. In this post we considered three characteristics of the EU: it’s central ambition (what we called elsewhere the ideology underpinning the project); the determined efforts of its leading figures to dissemble to hide this central ambition; and the deep conviction that permeates everything it does that the peoples of Europe and their elected governments are of no account. These three themes were evident throughout J-C’s speech and clearly reflected the continuing progress of the EU project itself.
In this overview post, and the more detailed linked paper, we drew out some of the themes that persuade us that the EU is not what it seems, nor what it is presented as. The detailed analysis in our linked paper gave many more examples.
“We set out to complete an Energy Union, a Security Union, a Capital Markets Union, a Banking Union and a Digital Single Market. Together, we have already come a long way.” This ambition is set out in detail in the Five Presidents Report.
“Accepting and respecting a final judgement is what it means to be part of a Union based on the rule of law.” And “the law” means EU law, which is enforced by the European Court of Justice. It is fundamentally different from English law (see The World’s Favourite Law).
State of the Union 2017 (24/09/2017)
J-C will leave his role as President of the European Commission in October 2019, so we don’t know whether he will give another SOTEU in September. This post is the first of a three-part review of his speech from 2018.
“So let us show the European Union a bit more respect.” His contempt for his citizens’ intelligence is evident throughout his speech. We note his disdain for his citizens, which is widespread in the EU and in its founding ideology. “A strong and united Europe is what allows its Member States to reach for the stars.” And “The euro must become the face and the instrument of a new, more sovereign Europe.”
“We must complete our Economic and Monetary Union to make Europe and the euro stronger.” The true agenda is that completing EMU will make the euro stronger, and the euro is the glue that will (or should) hold the whole edifice together but instead it seems to be threatening the edifice (see Themes-8: Economics).
State of the European Union 2018 – 1 (16/09/2018)
The plan outlined in the Five Presidents Report still underpins the economic activities of the Union and is implicit in many of the comments J-C made in his most recent presentation. Far from dead, the Report is alive and still kicking, more than three years after it was published.
We then pointed out that it’s a standard trick of advertising, PR and fake news to keep repeating a lie until it becomes accepted by default. The EU does this a lot; recall how often you have read about ‘Europe’, ‘peace, ‘growth’, ‘stability’, and many other things that the EU wishes to claim but can’t do so honestly. For example: “Above all, Europe means peace. It is no coincidence that the longest period of peace in written history in Europe started with the formation of the European Communities.”Peace started before that and cannot be shown to be more than coincidence i.e. correlation.
J-C claimed at one point that European sovereignty does not replace member states own sovereignty and makes each such state stronger. “European sovereignty is born of Member States’ national sovereignty and does not replace it. Sharing sovereignty – when and where needed – makes each of our nation states stronger.” He didn’t bother to say how this works, probably because he can’t – because it doesn’t; if it did he could, and surely would.And not only when needed, unless it’s needed for an undeclared purpose – centralised control, codenamed Union.
“It is now the second most used currency in the world… But we must do more to allow our single currency to play its full role on the international scene.”In fact the euro now represents a smaller share of the world’s monetary system than the combined currencies it replaced in 1999; it’s far more likely that the Chinese yuan or some digital currency will displace the dollar than the euro will.
State of the European Union 2018 – 2 (16/09/2018)
In the third part of our review of his speech we pick out and comment on a few of the more absurd and implausible claims J-C makes in his PR address. “To love Europe, is it [sic] love its nations. To love your nation is to love Europe.”
We concluded, rather sarcastically, that his whole speech was rather downbeat, unsurprisingly given the terrible failures and their effects on millions of lives. If only everyone would get behind the rubric ‘Ever Closer Union’ they could double down on the solutions that have failed so far – clearly the patient needs a higher dose. “Member States have not yet found the right balance between the responsibility each must assume on its own territory; and the solidarity all must show…”
We also draw together our conclusions from his earlier presentations to the Parliament. Here is our summary conclusion:
We can conclude this year by picking up and interpreting his “true to ourselves”. Of course he doesn’t tell us directly what this means but we have no difficulty in understanding that he is referring to the EU’s founding principles: there needs to be a federal government in Europe to oversee peace and progress; we cannot express this openly as voters will not accept a supra-national government that they cannot remove; but they will when this federal government is confirmed in place; we will deceive, disguise and do whatever it takes to get to that point; we will not let the people or their representatives stand in our way; in the end they will agree with us or put up with the outcome, because they don’t matter.
State of the European Union 2018 – 3 (17/09/2018)