Today Jean-Claude Juncker was elected President of the European Commission by a strong majority of 422 votes in the European Parliament plenary session. After being proposed as candidate for Commission President by the European Council on 27 June 2014, Jean-Claude Juncker needed a majority of 376 votes in the European Parliament. Speaking ahead of the vote, he presented his political guidelines for the next European Commission as set out in a document entitled 'A new start for Europe: My agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change'. These guidelines are the basis in which Jean-Claude Juncker was elected today. The following are the key quotes from Candidate for President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker's intervention:
"I want to work for a Union that is committed to democracy and reform; that is not meddlesome but works for its citizens rather than against them. I want to work for a Union that delivers."
"My number one priority and the connecting thread running through each and every proposal will be getting Europe growing again and getting people back to work. To do this, within the first three months of my mandate, I will present a Jobs, Growth and Investment Package to generate an extra EUR 300 billion in investment over the next three years."
"SMEs are the backbone of our economies, creating 85% of new jobs in Europe – we can't bury them in paperwork. We must unshackle them from burdensome regulation."
"It is in everyone's interest that energy not be used as a political tool. It's time Europe stood tall on its own feet, pooling our resources, combining infrastructures and uniting our negotiating power."
"The rescue of the euro was necessary but was weak on the social side. It is unacceptable to me that workers and retired people had to shoulder the burden of structural reform programmes, while ship owners and financial speculators became even richer. In the future we need a more democratically legitimate replacement for the Troika and thorough social impact assessments for any new support programmes."
"I want a reasonable and balanced trade agreement with the U.S. But I will not sacrifice Europe's safety, health, social and data protection standards or our cultural diversity on the altar of free trade."
"We need more solidarity in our immigration policy. I will step up cooperation with third countries to deal with irregular migration more robustly and I will promote a new European policy on legal migration to put Europe on the map as a favourite destination for talent."
"My firm conviction is that we must move forward as a Union but not necessarily all at the same speed. For some, their final destination may already have been reached. I always was and very much remain ready to listen to and help find solutions for the concerns of each and every Member State."
"Gender balance is not a luxury but a political must and should be self-evident to all – particularly national leaders when it comes to proposing a candidate for Commissioner. This is in itself a test for the commitment of national governments to a new, more democratic approach in times of change."
"The Parliament's campaign motto was 'This time it's different' – help me make deliver on that promise today. Help me show the world that together we can give Europe its fresh start."