Juncker tells Turkey to say goodbye to EU membershipWorld | Sep 13, 2017 19:58
"Turkey has been moving away from the European Union in leaps and bounds,” he said, criticizing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government for arresting journalists and branding EU leaders "fascists and Nazis.”
"Journalists belong in editorial offices amid a heated debate, and not in prison,” he said. "I appeal today to the powers that be in Turkey: let our journalists go, and not just our journalists.”
Ankara’s attitude, Juncker said, "rules out EU membership for Turkey in the foreseeable future.”
As the Union comes to terms with losing one of its biggest member states, Juncker called for EU leaders to meet in Romania the day after Britain leaves on March 29, 2019 to chart the bloc’s way forward as 27 member states.
Juncker said the meeting should be held March 30 in the city of Sibiu, a picturesque city in Transylvania that was settled centuries ago by ethnic Germans from Luxembourg, Juncker’s home country.
Juncker vowed that the EU "will move forward once Britain leaves,” saying that "Brexit is not everything. It’s not the future of Europe.”
To cheering British lawmakers celebrating the country’s departure, Juncker said: "I think you will regret it quite soon.”
With the EU under fire for policies perceived to be blocking migrants in dangerous and sordid detention centers in Libya, Juncker said "Europe has got a collective responsibility” to help improve conditions there.
He told lawmakers that the EU must work closely with the U.N.’s refugee agency to ensure that this "scandalous situation” does not continue.
While he praised efforts that have sharply reduced migrant flows, he said Europe must continue to provide refuge to those fleeing persecution.
Europe, he insisted, "is not a fortress and must never become one.”
He paid special tribute to Italy for its "tireless and noble work” at it bears the brunt of rescuing and helping most of the migrants arriving on Europe’s shores.
"Italy is saving Europe’s honor in the Mediterranean,” Juncker said.
Juncker also said he will propose the establishment of a pan-European cybersecurity agency as online attacks around the world mount.
"Cyber-attacks are sometimes more dangerous for the stability of democracies and economies than guns and tanks,” he said.-AP