Strasbourg (AP) - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said goodbye after five years in office with an emotional speech and highlighted his achievements.
"I leave the office not sad, not overly happy, but in the feeling, honestly endeavored," said the 64-year-old in the European Parliament. "I was proud to be a small particle of a larger whole for a long time, and especially for the last five years, more important than us."
The Luxembourger recalled that above all, the European Union is also a peace project. "Peace is not self-evident and we should be proud that Europe is getting the peace," he said. You also have to talk about this with young people. To his successors he gave with the way: "Fight with all your strength the stupid nationalism." And closed his speech with the words: "Long live Europe!"
Juncker officially leaves office on November 1, but still manages the business until his successor Ursula von der Leyen can start. The former Luxembourg head of government switched to Brussels in 2014. His term of office includes a number of crises, including the euro debt crisis, which almost led Greece to leave Greece in 2015, and the refugee crisis in 2015. The biggest setback was the Brexit decision in the United Kingdom in 2016, which has been a source of almost no-nonsense activity ever since.
Juncker farewell referred above all to successes of the 2014 he launched investment program, the so-called Juncker plan. The investments thus secured would have created 1.1 million additional jobs and increased the economy in the European Union by 0.9 percent more than without the plan. Although this was not a panacea, but you can be proud of it. In total, a € 21 billion fund was mobilized to attract € 439.4 billion, according to the European Commission.
In addition, Juncker underlined the more social orientation of the EU. It was also important to him to keep Greece in the euro area and to establish closer relations with Africa. His EU Commission has drafted migration policy proposals and concluded a total of 15 international trade agreements.
Juncker recalled his meeting with US President Donald Trump in July 2018, when he had defused the trade dispute with the US. At the time, he explained to Trump that only the EU Commission was responsible for the common commercial policy, which the US President noted with interest. "If you're a Luxembourger in Washington and say I'm the deciding man, it's almost never happened," joked Juncker.
The launch of the new Commissioner von der Leyen is delayed because her staff package for the future Commission is not yet complete. Three designated commissioners failed in the nomination process. France, Romania and Hungary now have to present new candidates. The possible new start date is December 1st.