Jean-Claude Juncker gave his state of the Union speech to European parliament yesterday. He talked about Brexit, new ultra-fast internet access across Europe, new copyright laws to support journalists and publishers, changes to travel arrangements for non-EU citizens in the EU, and an EU army.
He called for this to happen as quickly as possible.
He said: “We propose today to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020 “
In more detail, he said: “The Commission is proposing a reform for our European telecommunications markets. We want to create a new legal framework that attracts and enables investments in connectivity. Businesses should be able to plan their investments in Europe for the next 20 years. Because if we invest in new networks and services, that is at least 1.3 million new jobs over the next decade. Connectivity should benefit everyone. That is why today the Commission is proposing to fully deploy 5G, the fifth generation of mobile communication systems, across the European Union by 2025. This has the potential to create a further two million jobs in the EU. We propose today to equip every European village and every city with free wireless internet access around the main centres of public life by 2020.”
In a plan that may transfer revenue from the likes of Google and Facebook to publishers by forcing them to pay for extracts from articles, he said:
“As the world goes digital, we also have to empower our artists and creators and protect their works. Artists and creators are our crown jewels. The creation of content is not a hobby. It is a profession. And it is part of our European culture. I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work, whether it is made in studios or living rooms, whether it is disseminated offline or online, whether it is published via a copying machine or hyperlinked on the web. The overhaul of Europe's copyright rules we are proposing today does exactly that.”
Then there was this idea that non-EU citizens may have to pay for a VISA to travel in the EU.
He said: “We will propose a European Travel Information System – an automated system to determine who will be allowed to travel to Europe. This way we will know who is travelling to Europe before they even get here.”
And on the subject of an EU army, he said: “Europe can no longer afford to piggy-back on the military might of others or let France alone defend its honour in Mali. We have to take responsibility for protecting our interests and the European way of life. Over the last decade, we have engaged in over 30 civilian and military EU missions from Africa to Afghanistan. But without a permanent structure we cannot act effectively. Urgent operations are delayed. We have separate headquarters for parallel missions, even when they happen in the same country or city. It is time we had a single headquarters for these operations. We should also move towards common military assets, in some cases owned by the EU. And, of course, in full complementarity with NATO.”