Every movement or thought that discriminates against others is dangerous
President Jean-Claude Juncker
On May 17, 2019 the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, held the 1672nd Dialogue with some 1000 citizens in Echternach. There were citizens from Luxembourg and Germany, members of the diplomatic and political communities and young people, mostly students from German schools.
President Juncker kicked off the Dialogue by taking stock of the mandate. He listed the achievements he is proud of, like the Commission’s response to the financial and Greek crises, the deepening of social Europe, trade agreements and the Investment Plan for Europe.
Participants then asked questions about topics such as international relations, the EU elections, youth participation, Brexit and climate change.
On Europe’s role in the world, one participant wanted to know if the current international situation represents a threat for Europe. President Juncker replied that the current international situation is very worrying because some countries want to move away from multilateralism and because the extreme right is on the rise.
The future of the free trade agreement between the EU and the US was also discussed, as well as the role of the EU in the world, like its relation with Turkey.
Another topic of interest for participants was EU enlargement. One participant asked whether Ukraine would eventually join the EU and if enlargement is a good solution to prevent other conflicts in our continent.
On the same topic, one participant said that the EU “should be proud to have integrated Central and Eastern Europe”, but should still work to ensure stability in the future to avoid a new cold war.
Participants also had questions about Brexit and what the results of the upcoming European elections will be in this context. Talking about the threat by nationalists and populists in these elections, President Juncker emphatically called young people to vote “for the right representatives” in the European Parliament. “Every vote will count”, he said.
Participants asked President Juncker about the role Europe should play to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change. In this context, President Juncker referred to the Paris Agreement and said he is happy to see that young people are taken to the street Fridays.
Finally, participants wanted to know what could “the next Commission do to move the people and make them enthusiastic”, as well as make young people “more aware about the EU.”