Jean-Claude Juncker gave a presentation at EIB on Monday 10th of February. The topic was “Europe: what’s next”. He didn’t present the investEU programme, though. The focus turned towards the past and the present of Europe.
The former President of the European Commission walked the audience through his presidency years. In December 2014, Europe was coming out from a financial crisis and the investment had dropped by 20%. It was then that the Junker Plan played a key role in boosting jobs and growth in the EU. At that time, European companies saw that the program concerned employees and investors, and they contributed.
Juncker reminded the audience that EU wealth depended on foreign trade and emphasized the importance of our strong commercial relationships with Canada and Japan. He talked as well about his recent meeting with Donald Trump, referring to him as “his friend”, but admitting that neither US, nor other big World players will ever understand how Europe works.
Junker, as usual, had funny moments. At the beginning of the presentation, he referred to London saying “back then, when it was still an international city” (before Brexit), or during the Q&A, when a person of the audience asked him how did he see the future relationship between Europe and US. He answered “I won’t give you a complete answer because I am writing my memoirs and I want to sell my books”.
But the most emotional moment arrived towards the end of the session when, talking about Brexit, he said “I should have done it. I should have intervened about Brexit, and now I feel guilty”.
Perhaps nothing good would have come out of such an intervention. Maybe, as he feared, animosity towards Europe would have increased. What is certain is that there is a general feeling in the EU of having lost a family member.
Finally, Juncker advised the European Investment Bank representatives to concentrate in new and performant financial instruments, in mechanisms and in green investment.
Pictures: Copyright EIB