European Commission chief Juncker wants EU to fill vacuum left by US

The European Union should show off its potential strength as a world economic power as the United States under President Donald Trump pulls back from international engagement, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday.

Delivering a speech during a debate on `The State of the European Union’ at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, today.
Junker had, in his annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, said that when united, the EU was a force to be reckoned with.
“Whenever Europe speaks as one, we can impose our position on others,” Juncker said.
Hurt by Britain’s withdrawal and Sweden’s demand for an exit from the European Union, amidst rising nationalism elsewhere, and feuding over immigration and democratic values, Juncker insisted the bloc was more united than it might seem and could use that to shape the world to its tastes.
With many countries questioning Washington’s role as the global economic leader, Juncker also said the euro should be better promoted as a world currency. He also cited the anomaly of EU energy imports getting priced mostly in dollars when almost none of them come from the United States.
Juncker, who begins a final year in office ahead of the European Parliament election due in May next year, has the credit of successfully talking Trump out of an immediate tariff war in July and working with China to keep world trade flowing free.
The Commission hopes to complete an EU trade pact with Japan by May, one of several deals that is consolidating the EU as the hub of global agreements on standards.
He also announced the launch of a new trade relationship with Africa.
“Africa does not need charity, but a true and balanced partnership,” he said, proposing a new alliance that would create 10 million jobs in Africa over five years and help African students and researches go on exchange programmes in Europe.