European Commission Official Calls for Unity

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, called for quotas for European countries to accept more than 160,000 refugees. Juncker is encouraging consistent immigration policies and warning sanctions for countries that don't take their fair share. 

Juncker used emotional appeals in his state-of-the-union address to the European parliament: 

"Today it is Europe that is sought as a place of refuge and exile. It is Europe today that represents a beacon of hope, a haven of stability in the eyes of women and men in the Middle East and in Africa. That is something to be proud of and not something to fear."

When speaking of the potentially 500,000 refugees who may cross borders, Juncker gave more examples: 

"Europe is the baker in Kos who gives away his bread to hungry and weary souls. Europe is the students in Munich and in Passau who bring clothes for the new arrivals at the train station. Europe is the policeman in Austria who welcomes exhausted refugees upon crossing the border. This is the Europe I want to live in."

Although Germany, France, and Italy support the plan, other EU members are reluctant. Juncker used Ukraine as an example of a country that may seek assistance in the future. But he did not convince everyone. Slovak prime minister said, "We won't bow down to Germany and France. Quotas are irrational." The plan also faces resistance from Poland and the Czech Republic, whose Europe prime minister called quotes "nonsensical." 

The UK has been a notable resistor to accepting migrants. Britain's Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament chastised the prime minister's lack of cooperation: 

"By refusing to take a single refugee that has arrived on Europe's shores, the UK government is shirking our international duty and lowering Britain's standing in the world. Of course we must do more to tackle the causes of the refugee crisis at source, but we cannot turn a blind eye to the human tragedy unfolding right now on our continent."

Prime Minister Cameron has defended his financial contributions and focus on resettlement. 

Discussion Starters:

  • What are Juncker's challenges in delivering this speech? What type of resistance does he need to overcome?
  • Read the transcript of Juncker's speech. What examples do you see of emotional appeals, credibility, and logical argument? What rhetorical devices does he use?
  • Assess Juncker's delivery skills. What suggestions do you have for his future presentations?