Three important things we learned from Jean-Claude Juncker this weekend
Sunday, 12 February 2017 European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has spoken about the future of Europe and his own role within it, in an interview with German radio, and the effect of Trump and Brexit.
Here are the three important things he said.
-1. Europe is divided - and Britain isn't helping-
Opinions of both the public in the member states of the union and their parliaments are moving "in different directions" Juncker said
"Some countries would like more Europe. Others find that we already have too much Europe," he said.
"There are those - I belong to - who would like to have a more social Europe because the social dimension of the internal market and the monetary union are under-framed. Others find that the European Union can never become a social union, and they are nervous at the thought that this could happen."
And to end talk of the end of the EU, the bloc must address such concerns over the next two to three years, the leader said: "While we are negotiating with the British, if we want to avoid the end-time mood, we have to agree on the final conceptions of the continent about ourselves."
He added: "Now everyone is saying in relation to Trump and Brexit: 'Now is Europe's big chance. Now is the time to close ranks and march together,'"
"I wish it will be like this, but will it happen? I have some doubt. Because the Brits will manage without big effort to divide the remaining 27 member states."
*2. No second term*
Juncker will not go in for a second term, saying he will step down at the end of his current five year term in 2019.
"I won't be putting myself forward as a candidate for a second time," he said.
*3. Trump could be an opportunity for Europe*
Despite Donald Trump's belief that the EU is on its last legs, Juncker indicated the change in administration in the US could be a an opportunity for the bloc.
"I am particularly interested in the commercial policy intentions of the new American administration. Because I realise that there is something like a departure from previous behaviours. And that really opens up great opportunities for the European Union," he said.
US vice-president Mike Pence will this week visit Brussels.
Over the weekend Vice President Mike Pence was going from meeting to meeting in Europe and with each introduction he repeated the same phrase: "The President sends greetings." Wherever he went on his first foreign tour, Pence was "intent on reminding" everyone who he was there representing. As the...