State of the Union 2017 Live, as it happened

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave his annual State of the European Union address at the European Parliament on Wednesday morning (September 13). brought live coverage, analysis and background from Strasbourg and around Europe.

The main points from Juncker’s speech:

  • A single president at the helm of the Commission and the Council, after having been elected in a pan-European campaign; 
  • A European minister of economy and finance. A future Commissioner for economy and finance, ideally a Commission vice-president, could carry out this role as well as chairing the eurogroup
  • Transnational lists for European elections.

> Read our Editor-in-Chief’s analysis: Without changing treaties, Juncker changes the EU


  • Eurozone: Member states that are obliged to adopt the euro need support of a euro accession instrument, which will offer pre-accession assistance;
  • Need to strengthen European trade program. Opening trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand; Calls for a new EU framework for investment screening;
  • All EU rules on worker mobility must be implemented fairly. To do that we are going to set up a common labour market authority.” Member states should agree as soon as possible on the European pillar of social rights;
  • Legal migration routes. Returning migrants with no right to stay in Europe; High time to bring Romania and Bulgaria into Schengen area, as well as Croatia, when it meets the criteria;
  • Greater and credible accession prospects to countries of the Western Balkans. But not during Juncker’s mandate; But there can be no EU membership for Turkey for some foreseeable future.

View our playlist of relevant snippets of the SOTEU speech on EU reform, Brexit, Cyber-Security Agency, double food standards and more.

Below you can look back (counter-chronologically) how the day of the State of the European Union 2017 speech unfolded, who reacted, and how the EURACTIV Editorial team covered today’s events.

Dominique Ostyn 13/09/201719:56

And to end the day, Jacques Delors Institute in partnership with the EURACTIV France hosted a FACEBOOK LIVE conversation with Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.

You can watch it again on the Facebook page.

Paola Tamma 13/09/201719:11

No accession for Turkey

“It would be naive and absurd to keep talking about Turkey’s accession. You can’t enter the EU without sharing its values and democratic tenets. But today there are no conditions for a rapprochement”

Paola Tamma 13/09/201719:03

Is the Commission getting cosy with Macron?

“In the Commission, we welcomed the election of a pro-European candidate. We wait for his propositions – his speech in Athens interested me a lot.

But we can’t be too pro-French. We have to make sure that everyone has a space in Europe. Otherwise, nationalism will make a come back”.

Paola Tamma 13/09/201718:56

European Parliament elections

Moscovici supports Juncker’s transnational list proposal for the 73 seats that will be vacated by British MEPs

Paola Tamma 13/09/201718:50

Change within the treaty could advance “countless proposals”

To pass from unanimity to qualified majority in the European Council, as proposed by Juncker today, (thus ending the power to veto) could enable progress on fiscal competition and “countless proposals”

Paola Tamma 13/09/201718:44

The EU’s golden budget rule is no longer relevant

The 3% budget rule is “no longer relevant. It is not just a ceiling but a starting point to incrementally reduce public debt beyond 3%.”

Paola Tamma 13/09/201718:40

What’s hampering the eurozone?

“We don’t know who decides and what is decided. The advantage of federalism is to share advantages and costs. But we have to be realistic: there is no support today for a supranational government. So yes to a federation, but a federation of nation states.”

Paola Tamma 13/09/201718:37

Finance Minister “Juncker’s propositions are concrete and precise. We need a real economic policy in the eurozone, ” said Moscovici on Juncker’s proposal to have a Finance Minister for the EU

Paola Tamma 13/09/201718:35

“We are a political and democratic Union” Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, is interviewed by EURACTIV France editor-in-chief Aline Robert and says “the European Union is a political and democratic system, and we [the commissioners] are democratically invested political representatives”

Daniela Vincenti 13/09/201718:24

Spinelli group: The courage to reform institutions and open up the process to debate and citizens’ involvement

In a reaction to today’s SOTEU, the federalist Spinelli Group said “we must seize this opportunity to change the European Union and relaunch European unity using all possibilities within the existing Treaties but also preparing necessary changes to the Treaties.”

The Spinelli Group is a network of pro-European and federalist members of the European Parliament launched in September 2010 by Guy Verhofstadt, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Sylvie Goulard and Isabelle Durant. Today its group is co-chaired by Elmar Brok and Jo Leinen.

Many of Juncker’s proposals can achieve their full potential only with a radical change in the institutional and democratic structure of the EU, the Group insisted. The importance of institutions and the need for changes to the Treaties, soon and not in a distant future, should not be dismissed. The EU needs to find the courage to reform its institutions and open up the process to debate and citizens’ involvement.

The Spinelli Group called on all Members States and the European Council to support Juncker’s proposals and roadmap of reforms until the European elections in 2019.

Zoran Radosavljevic 13/09/201717:22

Trade dominates Juncker Commission’s priorities.

Zoran Radosavljevic 13/09/201716:10

Cyber security overhaul also on the cards

Dominique Ostyn 13/09/201715:59

Daniel Termont, president of EUROCITIES and mayor of Ghent (Belgium), reacts to SOTEU:

As city leaders, we fully share Commission president Juncker’s ambitions about a more positive future for the EU. That does not mean ‘more’ or ‘less’ EU. We just need an EU that helps deliver solutions to the challenges our citizens are facing. To better tackle challenges in the future we need to radically rethink the way the EU works. As the level of government closest to citizens, city authorities are ready to be strategic partners on the path towards a stronger more democratic Europe. The urban agenda for the EU has recognised the added value of involving cities directly in the EU’s work on policy and funding on matters that concern us and our citizens. It is in Europe’s cities that many of the solutions towards a more prosperous, sustainable and inclusive Europe are developed. In May 2018, our campaign ‘Cities4Europe, Europe for citizens’ will involve our citizens directly and give them a voice on the future of Europe. Cities will be the catalyst in the democratic leap the EU needs to make. Our message to president Juncker is: Work with us – let’s set sail and catch that wind together.