Jean-Claude Juncker quotes and sayings
December 9, 1954
We can't completely rely on the aberrations of history to explain today's European necessities. Future-related issues are no less pressing.
I am not a dwarf.
One shouldn't pursue the wrong policies just because one is afraid of not being reelected. Those who intend to govern have to take responsibility for their countries and for Europe as a whole. This means, if need be, that they have to pursue the right policies, even if many voters think they are the wrong ones.
Now people are criticizing Europe, the European Commission, Juncker and the whole lot because the distribution of refugees didn't succeed immediately. But you also have to recognize that close to 20,000 refugees have already been redistributed. There are only a few member states that do not want to take part.
As a human being I am personally saddened, as I have a great deal of respect for the large number of British colleagues I have worked with over the years. That is why I personally invested countless hours, days and nights, in negotiating a fair deal for the United Kingdom.
We shouldn't persuade people that we can simply conjure up the sun and the moon: at the most, we can deliver a telescope.
Greece is not a country that can be humiliated. It is a matter of finding an intersection between the reasonable elements of both sides EU and Greece which has to be done.
The position of EU commissioner for economic and monetary affairs could be combined with the office of Euro Group chairman. That job would be a great challenge for anyone who assumed it. On the one hand, he would have to make proposals. On the other hand, he would have to negotiate compromises with his European counterparts.
Now it is firstly a matter of a clean divorce, because citizens and companies need legal certainty. Can there be a new partnership with the United Kingdom one day? All 27 Member States would have to agree to that. And the United Kingdom would first have to reflect on what it wants itself.
I was never presented with the details as far as the collective bargaining system is Greece. I am in favor of a normal system without giving the labour minister the right to extend the results to extend the result of the collective bargaining to the whole of the real economy. The government has to make sure that the results will not harm the situation of small and medium enterprises.
However painful or regrettable Brexit may be, it will not stop the E.U. as it moves to the future; we need to move forward.
It is not acceptable that European Union countries are divided into those who give and those who take.
My main concern is to protect people from detriment.
The good thing about the European Union is that the joint project ultimately benefits all Member States and not just a few.
We decide on something, leave it lying around, and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don't understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.
In a union of equals, there can be no second-class consumers. I will not accept that in some parts of Europe, people are sold food of lower quality than in other countries, despite the packaging and branding being identical.
The rule of law means that law and justice are upheld by an independent judiciary. The judgments of the European Court of Justice have to be respected by all. To undermine them, or to undermine the independence of national courts, is to strip citizens of their fundamental rights. The rule of law is not optional in the European Union. It is a must.
For my generation, the monetary union has always been about forging peace.
The way some German politicians have lashed out at Greece when the country fell into the crisis has left deep wounds there. I was just as shocked by the banners of protesters in Athens that showed the German chancellor in a Nazi uniform.
In Europe, even more so than in national politics, we have to follow the principle laid down by Martin Luther: Use language that the people will understand, but don't just tell them what they want to hear.
I'm not suffering from withdrawal symptoms. I would say that I have a balanced state of mind.
Much as I would have liked to respond factually and truthfully to each and every piece of misinformation spread by the Brexit campaign, it was important that I stayed out of the domestic political debate. It was David Cameron's task to win the UK referendum, not ours.
Europe has to be about more than market, goods, and money.
Stories are invented: Juncker wants to introduce the euro everywhere or immediately deepen the EU - although I publicly stated the opposite that same day.
It's important to recognize that we in Europe will either succeed together or fail together.
The will of the British people must now be put into effect as quickly as possible. Under Article 50 of the EU Treaty the UK must leave the European Union within two years at the latest.
The person who is ahead in the end will have the advantage.
Being described as a stupid bureaucrat with no link to representative democracy is difficult to take.
Forgetting the importance of national landscapes, cultures, national behaviors, reactions, and reflexes is a big, big mistake.
This was a continent of divisions, of wars, of conflicts, of divergences, differences... When I am in Asia, in Africa, people admire what we have managed to do. Europe is beautiful seen from other continents.
In politics, there are different categories of friendship. My friendship with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, for example.
I have known a great many politicians who have not managed to stay in power for 16 years. I have nevertheless already managed to remain at the helm for 18 years. I still want to achieve a great many things for my country. Experience is not a disadvantage here, especially as the head of government of a small country in a European setting that has become more difficult.
Those who are saying that Mario Draghi is in the camp of those trying to push Greece outside the Euroarea, are wrong.
Without the Turkey agreement, tens of thousands of refugees would still be stuck in Greece. The Commission presented proposals for securing Europe's external borders early on, but they languished in the Council for months. As you can see, the Commission isn't asleep. Oftentimes it has to wake up the others.
I believe neither the French nor the Dutch really rejected the constitutional treaty.
I am in favor of the European institutions being led for the next two-and-a-half years as they have been thus far. We need stability.
Trump is a partner for us who cannot be easily categorized. Putting it in the noblest way possible, his understanding of politics is a little different from ours here in Europe. The way he acts forces us Europeans to take on a new responsibility. We are not standing with our backs up against the wall, but, to put it as pithily as the German chancellor has: We can no longer rely on the U.S. the way we could in the past.
It is not more Europe or less Europe that we need. We need a better Europe.
The European Union has decades of experience in overcoming crises and has always emerged stronger after.
A united Europe is our Continent's only chance to avoid falling off the world's radar. The heads of government of Germany, France and the United Kingdom also know that their voice is only heard internationally because they speak through the megaphone of the European Union.
Yesterday's shining heroes of Brexit have become the sorrowful heroes of today.
I am against nationalists, but I am very much in favour of patriots.
It is always said that Europe is a project of the elite. That's incorrect.
As complicated and complex and as difficult as we are, the unity of Europe is a pre-condition for a better organized world, and if the European Union would fail or decompose, or other members left, the U.S. would have a more difficult role to play in the world.
I note that many British MEPs belonging to the UK Independence Party have used all their time in Parliament to work against the institution of which they are members. I would not presume to advise them on what they should or should not do. However, since the UK could not leave the EU fast enough as far as they were concerned, I can imagine that they will not stay any longer than they have to.
After 30 years in Brussels, I can tell you: The relationship between the Commission and the Parliament has probably never been as good as it is now.
I completely agree with Helmut Kohl. I am not an advocate of the "United States of Europe," nor am I an integration fanatic.
I am for it - not to make a threat, but to make clear that decisions that have been made are applicable law, even if you have voted against it. At issue here is European solidarity, which cannot be a one-way street. The traffic has to move in both directions.
I notice with a certain sense of regret that far too many Europeans are returning to a regional and national mindset.
Article 50 governs the exit from the European Union and here there can also be no renegotiation.
Angela Merkel did the right thing. Her decision and the extraordinary willingness of the German people to take in refugees conveyed an image of Germany that is still having positive repercussions today. Unfortunately, people in Germany are no longer seeing that.
I have a plan. It entails leading to a fair deal and relationship with the British. We will be reasonable, but we will also negotiate firmly and without gullibility. I believe we must come to an agreement for the people of Britain and the people on the Continent, but not under exclusively British terms.
I'm ready to be insulted as being insufficiently democratic, but I want to be serious ... I am for secret, dark debates.
BorisJohnson, Nigel Farage, they are retro-nationalists, not patriots. Patriots don't abandon ship when the going gets tough. They stay on board.
We no longer have the pact from 1997; it was radically amended in 2005 and the Commission is applying this Stability Pact with wisdom and rationality.
Decisions can only be reached in Europe if France and Germany agree.
I believe that if we don't offer legal ways of emigrating to Europe and immigrating within Europe, we will be lost. If those who come - who are, generally speaking, the poor and needy - are no longer able to enter the house of Europe through the front door, they'll keep making their way in through the back windows.
The problem is: When two governments or institutions in Europe hold differing opinions, it is immediately a crisis.
I'm not deaf and the Commission isn't operating in a parallel world of legal texts.
With hindsight, it is always easy to blame everyone else.
You can consider this carved in stone: I rule out becoming Herman Van Rompuy's successor.
I am a champion of trans-Atlantic relations and I do not believe there is any other option available to us than working closely together with America - including Canada. There is no other alliance option, but the same is true for the U.S.
I haven't yet given everything: I am still full of energy. But I wanted to make it clear that I don't have to make unwarranted concessions to national governments or to parliament. I want to avoid the impression that I am doing things just to ensure that I am re-elected. That's not the case. I have had my career.
But it is the best thing that we have for bringing the countries of Europe around the same table and for forging compromises so that people here can live in peace, freedom and prosperity. In a world which is growing closer together all the time, we can only survive and influence the rules if we join forces. We will miss the presence of the United Kingdom at this table.
Here in Brussels, we did everything to accommodate David Cameron's concerns. My collaborators and I personally spent countless days and nights negotiating an agreement that was fair toward the United Kingdom and toward the other 27 Member States. I was then very surprised to see that this settlement played no role whatsoever in the campaign in the United Kingdom. At the same time it is hardly surprising.
I would describe that friendship with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as a utilitarian friendship. At the time, his country was facing the prospect of leaving the euro zone and many Greeks felt abandoned by Europe. In such a situation, it seemed appropriate to me to present myself as a friend to Greece. It had to do with the country's dignity.
I have met in my life two big destroyers: Gorbachev, who destroyed the Soviet Union, and Cameron, who destroyed the United Kingdom to some extent, even if there is no wave of Scotland to become independent.
I am strictly against a European superstate.
The use of EU summits to frame political victories or defeats is an annoying habit.
In the end, the British didn't vote to leave because of the euro. They're not even members of the currency union. Even the refugee crisis hardly affected the country.
I assumed office to bring the EU to a point from which there is no going back. Instead, I am having to unwind the EU to a certain extent.
I have no doubt that the U.S., even under Trump, will stick to the mutual defense commitment in the NATO treaty in the event of an emergency. Trump described NATO as being obsolete during his election campaign, but he made clear afterward that he considers the alliance to be an indispensable necessity.
Since populists never miss an opportunity to create a lot of noise about anti-Europe stance. However, the repercussions of the British referendum could quickly put a stop to such crass rabble-rousing, as it should soon become clear that the UK was better off inside the EU - economically, socially and in foreign policy terms.
The outcome of the referendum does not affect those of my officials who have British nationality, since they work for Europe and not for the UK. They have made a major contribution to our common European project, and I will continue to count on their talent and commitment.
I have always considered it to be a minor miracle that after the war, people in Europe's border regions were able to forget everything and, in accordance with the slogan Never Again War, develop a program that still works today.
Between now and then, after 43 years of European marriage, the whole body of legislation will therefore have to be disentangled. That entails a whole range of specific and very complex questions: what will be the future legal status of the millions of EU citizens in the UK and the millions of Britons on the continent?
The Luxembourg financial centre is based on several pillars, we are characterised by the breadth of our product range, we are an active participant in the international credit business.
I urge everyone to be patient and reasonable and I warn against shooting from the hip in the truest sense of the term. Pressure and dialogue are needed.
I wouldn't like Greece to stay recession. I do think that everything has to be undertaken to reconnect with growth.
I have changed the focus of the work of my Commission so that we no longer concern ourselves with trivial details and concentrate on the key issues instead. By doing that, we met a large number of the legitimate demands made by the British people. The Commission really did do everything it could to create the conditions for a positive campaign.
The Turks know that if they want to join the EU, then they must respect our rules. We are a union of beliefs, not a bunch of squawking chickens. But if we continue talks with Erdogan, that doesn't mean we have to bow down to him.
The Greek nation has to be respected. I am not in the camp of those who openly want to humiliate Greece.
I am, however, deeply saddened by this Brexit vote by the British electorate. But I respect their decision. What is crucial now is that we focus very precisely on what Europe can do for people: stimulate investment, create jobs and together ensure the safety and security of our citizens.
Since it took up office, the Commission which I lead has pursued a clear policy: we need less interference from Brussels when it comes to the things that Member States can deal with better on their own. That is why we no longer regulate oil cans or showerheads, but concentrate instead on what we can do better together rather than alone - such as tackling the refugee crisis or securing our external borders. Only in that way can we make people feel that Europe makes a tangible difference.
We must go back to teach Europeans to love Europe.
Europe is a democracy and differences of opinion are part of it.
There is a distorted perception of what goes on in Brussels. No one reports on the Commission taking a hundred initiatives from its predecessor off the table in order to shift competencies back to member state governments.
My friendship with Martin Schulz, by contrast, is completely different in that it goes far beyond politics.
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