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Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

Thursday 24 October 2019  17:00 - 18:00

The EPC was honoured to host Jean-Claude Juncker at the EPC Thought Leadership Forum, in Brussels, on 24 October 2019 when he gave his last official speech as President of the European Commission. Herman Van Rompuy, EPC President and President Emeritus of the European Council, introduced President Juncker and recalled some of his many achievements, not least his instrumental role in helping keep Greece in the eurozone and the success of the Juncker Strategic Investment Plan. He urged Mr Juncker to continue to look ahead and to remain a committed spectator.

Jean-Claude Juncker spoke warmly of his cooperation with Herman Van Rompuy over many years and particularly their cooperation as Heads of the European Commission and European Council respectively, describing it as "perfect". He paid tribute to the work of the EPC: 'For over 20 years, the European Policy Centre has been at the centre of the debate on Europe. Your ideas, your thoughts, sometimes your dreams have helped shape the future of the European Union' he said.

Mr Juncker recalled the difficult political and economic context the Union found itself in when he took office at the Commission helm in 2014. Europe had been weakened by the most severe social and economic crisis since the Second World War and  Europeans' trust in the European Union was at an all-time low. Turnout in the European elections had done nothing but fall for decades. That was why he had spoken of a ‘Commission of the last chance' before being elected by the European Parliament.  "But I believe we seized this chance, by getting the economy back on track and by making this a more social Union that works for all. I believe we are looking at a different European Union today.... Our economy is stronger and more resilient".

Janis A Emmanouilidis, EPC Director of Studies, moderated the question and answer session.

Read the full speech here

Watch the full event here

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