Juncker’s State of the Union speech: what about sustainability?



On 13 September 2017, President Juncker addressed the European Parliament in his annual State of the Union speech. He outlined his priorities for the coming year and provided his personal vision on the future of the EU.

With regards to the topic of sustainability, the seeming absence of it from the speech is counterbalanced by the fact that sustainability is part of some of the announced policy initiatives as well as of the letter of intent for a “for a More United, Stronger and More Democratic Union”.

Juncker referred to sustainability in trade -“Trade is about exporting our standards, be they social or environmental standards”-  and about fighting climate change through decarbonisation –“The Commission will shortly present proposals to reduce the carbon emissions of our transport sector”, it is in the new Industrial Policy Strategy, presented during his speech, that is most linked to sustainability.


This renewed Industrial Policy Strategy “will help European industries stay, or become, the number one in innovation, digitisation and decarbonisation” and it combines existing and new initiatives for a smart, innovative and sustainable industry.


The strategy also aims to clarify the tasks of all actors involved and the fora that will guide industrial policy actions in the future. The Strategy includes: actions on Circular Economy including a strategy on plastics; extension of the Skills Agenda to other sectors; proposals on clean, competitive and connected mobility; and a strategy on sustainable finance.


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