What is SOTEU? SOTEU from the State of the European Union is the annual speech (since 2007) where the President of the EU Commission, this time Jean Claude Juncker, analysis the past year and marks the political priorities for the following. After his speech, he debates it with the MEPs.
Why is it important? Easy, that’s way we have listed the following 10 reasons
Reason 1: you die to know which scenario for the future of the EU has been chosen by the President of the Commission. Remember that in March of this year, the EU commission proposed 5 scenarios for the nearby future of the Union, here you can find our own style summary:
- Scenario 1: life and business as usual. Nothing changes, the EU keeps working as always. This is a feasible scenario if there is no agreement between those who seek more and better Europe (mostly the citizens) and those who drag their feet to avoid going further in the European integration (mostly government leaders) combined with those few who do not move at all (more government leaders)
- Scenario 2: Money talks. Only the single market. British dream made true, pity they are going to miss it. An EU only committed to trade, forget anything else. Some will consider this the EU we have now. Really? allow a small suggestion, please take a look to the EU policies and actions on social issues, workers rights, environmental protection, foreign policy, research, food safety, culture and so on…
- Scenario 3: Please, carry on, do not stop for me. The Union has among its ranks some obstinate members who refuse to move forward therefore a group of member states willing to do more, can by pass the obstinate ones and collaborate in certain areas as defence, security or social affairs. Wait! Schengen area i.e the free movement in Europe was born this way.
- Scenario 4: Doing less but more efficiently. eeney meeney miney moe…we chose the priorities and policies where the EU should act with full strength and let’s forget everything else. It is unlikely once we begin to cut policies and EU competences, it will stop easily, it’s an open door to empty EU’s powers.
- Scenario 5: Doing much more together. Full throttle! Member States decide to share more power, resources and decision-making in more areas. Decisions are agreed faster and rapidly enforced. (some people call it MIRACLE! Others an approach to the Federal Europe)Which scenario will be our winner? Next Wednesday we will know.
Reason 2: Terrorism and Defense. You want to know the role played by the security and fight against terrorism in the European agenda. In 2016 we had fresh memories from the attacks in Bataclan-Paris and Marseilles, now, after the attacks in Barcelona and London, European citizens feel , more than ever, the need of a shared response to the terrorist thread. Bear in mind too the latest cyber attacks and other issues that can cause sleeplessness
Reason 3: USA and the world. In 2016, our nice friend Obama lived in the White house, everybody was happy with him, but this year we got Trump, the finest example of tact and diplomacy, strong believer in climate change, free trade champion….wait, just the opposite!! this is the blond burden to deal with. Thank God (or Robert Schumann) we have the High Representative with us working extra time, besides she is vice-president of the Commission. Will her performance and the European foreign policy deserve a big chunk of the speech?
Reason 4: Poland. During last year, Polish government has shown they like to live dangerously. Their constitutional and legislative changes approached Poland to trigger the famous article 7 i.e the first “red card” ever shown to a member state, losing temporarily its right to vote (it hurts) and/or without European funds (it hurts more). Believe it or not, our “friend” Victor Orban (Hungarian Prime minister) has much less tickets to win the article 7 lottery
Reason 5: Inmigración and refugees. An always controversial topic. The Commission already tried a common solution to the challenge. Will they try a new one? Will member states answer and react positively to it?
Reason 6: Brexit. We are dying to know what’s next on the Brexit epic saga, if we are lucky, we’ll listen some sly references to Pancho’s Villa Army*, also know as Theresa’s May cabinet,
*The exemplary organisation and careful actions for Brexit negotiations make them worthy of that name.
Reason 7: what is the status of the Commission’s plans and strategies? When the current Commission was elected, mid 2014, his President proposed 10 action priorities and an investment plan , known as Juncker’s plan. Therefore, even if it is only because the speaker is the father of these creature, we can expect some references to their state of development (look my boy/girl how tall is he/she).
Reason 8: check what they did with your vote. Believe it or not, Mr. Juncker was elected with our votes in the last European parliament elections (some vote for his list, others didn’t, but he was chosen because his list got the majority of the votes cast) MEP as the ones who are going to take part in the debate were chosen by us too. IF you didn’t go to vote, do not blame others for the selection of speakers
Reason 9: to boost your European morale. After 2016 SOTEU we were on the verge of crying without stop: Brexit, Austrian elections to be repeated, rise of Marie Le Pen and her National front in France and Geer Wilders in Netherlands, Trump looming in the horizon- Now, everything glitters with yellow stars and European blue: Macron got elected as President of the Republic with the Ode to Joy as soundtrack; In the Netherlands, Geer Wilders arrived as second force without a chance of forming an alliance with other party; in Austria, the Green-Candidate was elected mostly because of his pro-European credentials; in Germany, the game is between two candidates with strong European credentials Ms. Merkel (we already know her) and Mr. Schultz (we know him from his position as President of the European Parliament)
Reason 10: You like the image of a plenary room crowded . You can not expect less from the central event of the European year, it’s a hell of event for good I mean.
Reason 11: You get bored at home. So the SOTEU is a good chance to interact in social media, enjoy live broadcast (with doubling) and other 2.0 considerations.
Reason 12: Because we all love to see again something like this.