Juncker: More Federalism Will Overcome Populist Nationalism

The European Union is facing existential threat, thanks to the “forces of populism”, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said in his State of the Union address. But he said the threat could be overcome by doubling down on the European project. In a speech which was drastically revised overnight to more directly address the British vote to exit the EU, Juncker admitted: “Many are wondering whether Brexit is the beginning of the disintegration process of the EU.” But he continued: “Allow me to state, we respect and at the same time regret the UK’s decision, but the EU as such is not at risk.” In his remarks, Juncker reiterated calls for Article 50 to be invoked as soon as possible, a clear dig at the British government which has repeatedly said that it wanted to launch a consultation before going ahead with triggering Brexit. And he again warned that there can be “no a la carte access to the single market,” sticking to the European line that access to the single market necessitates accepting rules on free movement. However, Juncker made it clear that the leaders of the European project are alarmed by the rise in national interests within member states, and