EU's Juncker wants 'new alliance' with Africa


EU's Juncker wants 'new alliance' with Africa

The president of the european Commission Jean-Claude Juncker called on Tuesday for the european Union, already economic heavyweight, strengthens its policy on the global scene, in his last speech on the state of the Union in front of meps in Strasbourg.

The European Union should flex its potential strength as a world power as the United States under President Donald Trump pulls back from global engagement, EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to say on Wednesday.

According to Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, the EU's new proposals will support the efforts of Member States to face their challenges: "The [proposals] will ensure European Union solidarity is effectively delivered on the ground - whenever and wherever needed".

European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has described Africa as "the future" and called for strengthening partnerships with the continent and charity.

Europe is looking to be a fair partner to Africa in the coming year with a new alliance deal, the European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

Trade between Africa and Europe, said Juncker, was not insignificant - 36 percent of Africa's trade is with the European Union, compared to 16 percent with China and 6 percent with the United States.

During Juncker's term of office, the Commission focused on fewer priorities but priorities related to fundamental issues, he said.

"We respect the British decision to leave our Union, even though we continue to regret it deeply", told MEPs and the assembled hierarchy of the EU in Strasbourg.

"We must improve our ability to speak with one voice when it comes to our foreign policy", he said. "We should never forget that the patriotism of the XXI century is two-fold, both European and national and they are not mutually exclusive".

"Someone who leaves the union cannot be in the same privileged position as a member state", he said, while welcoming May's proposal for an "ambitious new partnership" based on a future free trade agreement.

Juncker proposed increasing the number of border guards to 10,000 by 2020, while opening the door to legal migration from African nations, stressing that Europe needed qualified workers.

Although Mr Juncker said he would not allow the United Kingdom to remain in any part of the single market, he said he did not want a hard border in Ireland.

"Article 7 must be applied whenever the rule of law is threatened".

"Terrorists do not recognise borders", Juncker said.

European Commission president also blasted EU leaders who sought to undermine democracy and the rule of law and rejected complaints from lawmakers that the EU executive branch has been lenient toward Hungary, Poland and other eastern states like Romania - without naming it.