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Saturday, September 22, 2018, 

Juncker’s State of the Union Speech: We need a fortright attitude towards Western Balkans

Juncker’s State of the Union Speech: We need a fortright attitude towards Western Balkans

Strasbourg, 12 September 2018 (MIA) - In his annual State of the Union speech, President of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker reflected on the European integration of the Western Balkans. “We need a fortright attitude towards the accession of the Western Balkans. Otherwise, our immediate neighbourhood will be shaped by other actors”, he said.

“We must find unity when it comes to the Western Balkans – once and for all. Should we not, our immediate neighbourhood will be shaped by others,” Juncker said.

“We must show that Europe can overcome differences between North and South, East and West, left and right,” Juncker said, Reuters reports.

“I want to make visible progress in strengthening our foreign policy. We must improve our ability to speak with one voice when it comes to our foreign policy... This is why today the Commission is proposing to move to qualified majority voting in specific areas of our external relations,” he underlined.

The EU plans to send 10,000 more border guards to tackle unlawful immigration by 2020, the European Commission's president Jean-Claude Juncker said in his annual state of the union address.

He called for more solidarity, rather than "ad-hoc solutions" for people on migrant ships.

His speech also tackled the region's other burning issues - populism, terrorism and Brexit.

This is Mr Juncker's last 12 months in the role.

He also proposed a new Africa-Europe alliance, based on co-operation rather than charity, leading to a continent-to-continent free trade agreement, BBC reports. sk/12:53

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