State of the European Union: Reactions and Insights

State of the European Union: Reactions and Insights

During the referendum those politicians who fervently argued for Remain, like Nick Clegg, said the idea of an EU Army was a “dangerous fantasy.” Well, during this morning’s State of the Union Address (no, not that one) President Jean-Claude Juncker called for an EU-wide military headquarters to work towards a “common military force.”

It would seem that Clegg’s idea of a “dangerous fantasy”, is about to become a reality. Juncker said that the lack of a “permanent structure” resulted in money being wasted on missions.

Juncker also called for Britain to begin its Brexit negotiations as ‘quickly as possible’, with an aim to keep the EU’s ties with Britain as friendly as possible post-Brexit. But ruled out any access to the single market without acceptance of freedom of movement.

Whilst Guy Verhofstadt gave reassurance to the United Kingdom in his reaction to Juncker’s address,

“Brexit is not a liability, it is an opportunity. Fair enough that UK government wants to make it a success. We have a responsibility to make it a success for Europe, the citizens of Europe. Brexit is not a matter of punishment or revenge. It is in my opinion, a question of the sound relationship between the UK and Europe. On both sides of the channel, let’s put an end to our collective depression.”

Syed Kamall asked why ‘more Europe’ was once again naively thought of as being the answer to the growing discontent by the people of Europe toward the European Union, making comparisons to Brexit and warning that if the European Union does not reform it will see more withdrawals from the Union – with the “warning signs” already evident.