State of the Union (European Union)

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European Parliament in Strasbourg, where State of the Union addresses by the Commission President have been made

The State of the Union address is the annual speech addressed by the President of the European Commission to the European Parliament plenary session in September. Made in the image of the State of the Union address in the United States, the State of the Union address of the European Union has been instituted by the Lisbon Treaty (with the 2010 Framework Agreement on relations between the European Parliament and the European Commission - Annex IV(5)[1]), in order to make political life of the Union more democratic and transparent than it hitherto was.

The Framework Agreement thus also foresees that the President of the European Commission sends a letter of intent to the President of the European Parliament and the Presidency of the Council of the European Union that sets out in detail the actions the European Commission intends to take by means of legislation and other initiatives until the end of the following year. The address is then followed by a general debate on political situation of the Union, the so-called State of the Union debate.


José Manuel Barroso[edit]

The first State of the Union speech of the European Union was pronounced on 7 September 2010 by President José Manuel Barroso.[2][3] There he dealt mainly with the economic situation and unemployment issues;[4]

In Barroso's second address, on 28 September 2011, he called for a eurozone bond and a financial transactions tax to stem the eurozone crisis and came out against the Franco-German proposal for an intergovernmental economic eurozone government - stating that that role belonged to the Commission;[5][6]

In Barroso's third address, on 12 September 2012, he called for a "decisive deal to complete the EMU", by which he meant a new European treaty to "move towards a Federation of nation states, ahead of the next European Parliamentary election in 2014.[7]

He also acknowledged the need for "a serious discussion between the citizens of Europe about the way forward," calling in particular on all pro-European forces to be mobilised against the anti-European agenda of "the populists and the nationalists."

Jean-Claude Juncker[edit]

9 September 2015 marked the first address held by Jean-Claude Juncker. It was titled "Time for honesty, unity and solidarity" and opened with the "imperative to act as a union" in order to address the refugee crisis.

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