The European Union must flex its muscles as a world power, EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday, as he spoke critically of the US president’s retreat from international engagement.
In his annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Juncker urged EU states to bridge angry divisions over budgets, immigration and other issues in order to capitalize on a chance to shape the world. The politician is entering his final year as president of the European Commission. “The geopolitical situation makes this Europe’s hour: the time for European sovereignty has come,” he said. Juncker made no direct comment on US policy but aides said the geopolitical situation he spoke of was a US retreat into what Juncker described elsewhere in the speech as “selfish unilateralism,” Reuters reports. He also saw new opportunities to work with China, Japan and others to develop “multilateral” rules.