European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called for stronger EU integration during his annual keynote State of the European Union address to the European Parliament. As David Pollard reports, he said the bloc could build on its reviving economy.
Jean-Claude Juncker is the president of the European Commission. Though at times in this State of the Union address, he sounded more like its captain. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, SAYING: "We have now a window of opportunity, but it will not stay open for ever. Let us make the most of the momentum: catch the wind in our sails." Brexit 'tragic', he said, though the UK's departure can move the EU towards closer integration. His a vision where 30 countries would use the euro - it's currently 19 ... With all states in the European Banking Union ... Under an EU minister of economy and finance. Though against opposition among eastern member states, Britain's Nigel Farage may not be the only sceptic. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) DARREN SINDEN, MARKET ANALYST, PEPPERSTONE, SAYING: "Obviously, that won't play very well in Poland. They're very attached to the zloty and their ability to be self determining. And of course the currency is working against them. The euro's appreciated 9,10 percent this year against the U.S. dollar and that is beneficial to some parts of the European economy. But it isn't good news for both German exporters, Spanish tourism and it's not really helping the likes of Italy either." And though Juncker didn't dwell on Brexit ... He did dwell on the thing Britain hopes Brexit will bring: free trade. (SOUNDBITE) (French) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, SAYING: "Today, we propose to open trade negotiations with Australia and with New Zealand. I would like all of these agreements to be finalised by the end of our mandate." In other words, in around two years' time. By which point, he said, deals with Canada, Japan, Mexico and South American countries could also be concluded. Europe the hub of a free-trading world - sailing smoothly through the threat of US protectionism.