In Strasbourg for the State of the Union: launching an Investment Plan for our region

In Strasbourg for the State of the Union: launching an Investment Plan for our region

I write on my way back from Strasbourg. Today Jean-Claude Juncker presented his State of the Union address, in a moment when Europe has to stand up to many a challenge: conflicts in our region, terrorism, poverty, migration. All these issues can only be dealt with at the European level, with common policies. Some forces are trying to sell the illusion that we can “regain sovereignty”, in our globalised world, by locking ourselves up inside national borders set over the last century. The truth is we can only regain sovereignty through our Union. In our world, being Europeans means not to give up but to take back our sovereignty, as we face global issues and actors that are way bigger than each of our nations.

This is also true for the European External Investment Plan I presented today. The aim is to unlock 44 billion euros in projects for Africa and for our neighbourhood, starting with the Mediterranean. It’s a Copernican revolution in our development policies. For the first time we are pooling funds from the European institutions, Member States who’ll decide to join, financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank, and private firms. These resources will finance projects to create jobs and growth, in countries where poverty and insecurity are taking the future away from the new generations. Our support won’t only be financial: through our delegations – our embassies in the world – we will help entrepreneurs realise projects where conditions are the most difficult, in the most fragile countries. It is first of all an investment in the youth. This includes European youth, because the initiatives to be financed will mostly be European. Here is the press conference to present the plan, together with Jirky Katainen and Kristalina Georgieva.

The External Investment Plan and the migration compacts – our packages we have worked on over the last few months, to support the countries of origin and transit of migrants – were also at the core of my debates in the European Parliament’s plenary in Strasbourg. Yesterday, during a long session with the members of the parliament, we also discussed the situation in Turchia, in Tunisia, and in Gabon.

Migration is a global phenomenon calling for global answers. We talked about this during the informal council with the ministers of development, which I have chaired last Monday in Brussels (here is the press conference). This is also the message we will bring to the summit on migration at the United Nation’s General Assembly, where 193 countries will get together to build up a new global partnership. The European Union has done and is doing a lot, and can be a global leader. But this requires that our huge work of our external policies for migration is coupled with coherence on the internal side, and with the respect of everyone’s commitments. Here is video of my speech in the European Parliament of the UN Summit on migration.