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Juncker urges European Union to strike trade deals with Australia, NZ by 2019
13 Setiembre 2017, 07:54 | Crisanna Felipe
Jean-Claude Juncker said he did not want his record to be defined by Britain’s break-up with the EUPATRICK SEEGER EPA
Juncker is due to speak to members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and is expected to address issues such as migration and asylum reform, trade deals with third countries, as well as how to protect businesses in the bloc from hostile takeovers.
The EU has "a very good chance" to strike a political deal on trade with Mexico and South American countries by year-end, Mr. Juncker said. We want this European Union role to continue after we leave.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Brussels, Juncker said that it was time to "raise anchor, get going, set sail" with recent headlines dominated by trade links with the USA and the Brexit negotiations.
Looking ahead to March 30, 2019, the day when Britain will be out of the EU, Juncker said he had proposed that Romania, which will then hold its rotating presidency, should host a summit in the formerly German-speaking Transylvanian city of Sibiu.
The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, buoyed by the EU's unexpected revival in fortunes, will demand new powers tomorrow enabling the EU to fast-track trade pacts with other countries.
Mr Juncker's comments on Brexit are a break from last year's state of the union, where he pointedly declined to mention Britain's departure from the union.
Moreover, during his State of the Union speech in Strasbourg, Juncker also said that Romania and Bulgaria should join the Schengen area "immediately".
He argued for a European minister of economy and finance but said it should not be a new position, instead only a reinforced EU commissioner post.
French President Emmanuel Macron has made ending this practice, which he says amounts to social dumping, a key priority.
He said the bloc should start free trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand and close the deals by the end of his term.
Jean-Claude Juncker was speaking two days before European Union finance ministers meet to discuss plans to introduce higher taxes on digital multinationals like Google and Amazon, which stand accused of paying too little tax in Europe.
While being open, the EU will also introduce at Union level some of the powers which some governments have to review foreign investments in strategic assets - such as infrastructure or sensitive security or technology firms - and raise objections.
Mr Juncker said he wanted use of the euro, membership of the Schengen agreement - which abolishes internal borders, and the banking union set up after the eurozone crisis to become standard.
With regard to the Western Balkans, the European Union should maintain a credible enlargement perspective, despite being clear that there will be no further enlargement during the mandate of this Commission, Juncker said.
But Turkey will have to wait.
"The rule of law means that law and justice are upheld by an independent judiciary", Juncker said.
In Strasbourg on Wednesday, Juncker portrayed the 28-member bloc as a bastion of stability in a fractured world, saying the union should assume an enhanced global leadership role as the USA steps back from the trans-Atlantic relationship.
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