President Jean-Claude Juncker today underlined his determination to focus on the Commission's number one priority – growth and jobs – even as the European Union manages a series of crises.
He called on Member States to pursue the strategy set out by the Commission a year ago: structural reform, fiscal responsibility and strategic investment. Announcing major progress from the €315 billion Investment Plan, the President remarked: "People said the plan would not work, that governments would not like it, and the private sector did not believe in it. But in the first three months we have already mobilised €50 billion across 22 Member States. 81,000 SMEs are already benefitting from the plan." Reaffirming the Commission's determination to do everything necessary to maintain the Schengen area of passport-free travel, the President highlighted the costs of non-Schengen: "Waiting at an internal border would cost every lorry 55 euros for every hour." He also called on Member States to respect their commitments: "I cannot accept that the relocation of 160,000 refugees is not implemented." On the situation in Poland, the President called for dialogue and saw a way forward: "I believe there is room for amendments in different pieces of legislation – that is now up to the European Union and Poland."