Juncker eyes "window of opportunity" for European Union reform

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In a policy paper released by David Davis' Brexit department on Tuesday, the government proposed contributing military assets to European Union operations, as well as cooperation on future sanctions as part of the deal.

This time previous year, Juncker said he had "never before... seen so much fragmentation", and used his union address to pose the question: "Do we want to let our union unravel before our eyes?"

Since the global financial crisis first bared its teeth a decade ago, the European Union project has been dealt a series of blows, most notably with Britain's decision past year to leave.

Mr. Juncker asked for a special summit of the EU's remaining 27 countries on the day after Brexit, on March 30, 2019, to make decisions on some key proposals about the future of the bloc.

Mr Juncker also ruled out membership of the European Union for Turkey in the near future, and used his speech to attack moves afoot in the country to curtail press freedom, demanding of the regime of President Recep Erdogan that it "let our journalists go", a reference to recent arrests of French and German members of the press.

He criticised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government for the arrest of journalists and a crackdown following an attempted coup past year.

With populism at bay and the economy on the upswing, Juncker's annual State of the Union speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, is expected to strike a far more optimistic note than a year ago. It's not the future of Europe.

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The move would assuage British defence industry concerns that Brexit will lead to greater Franco-German cooperation, gradually pushing the United Kingdom out of major defence markets.

He also issued a warning to Britian, which is now slowly progressing with exit negotiations, saying that "we will always regret this, and I think you will regret this too, soon". "The foreign secretary used to claim the European Union played no role whatsoever in keeping us safe but today he praises its "crucial" role in helping us to achieve our foreign policy goals".

While he praised efforts that have sharply reduced migrant flows, he said Europe must continue to provide refuge to those fleeing persecution.

The defence secretary, Michael Fallon, highlighted the UK's military capacity, including the largest defence budget and navy in Europe, as well as troops and planes deployed on land, air and sea across the continent.

Around the same time, several members of the European Union expressed growing discontent over how to handle the migrant crisis, while euroskeptic right-wing parties in several member states gained support.

He said the euro zone bailout fund - the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) - should be transformed into a European Monetary Fund and become an EU institution, rather than an intergovernmental one as the ESM is now.

"Cyber-attacks are sometimes more risky for the stability of democracies and economies than guns and tanks", he said.

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