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Following President Juncker's Statement on the State of the Union today in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, President of the S&D Group, Gianni Pittella, said:

"The European Commission has finally set Europe free from the shameful selfishness of certain National governments. As we proposed, the Commission has presented courageous measures on migration and it is now up to the Council and member states' to live up to their responsibilities. In Italy, Greece, Hungary, Germany or Austria, European citizens have shown their solidarity and European leaders must learn from their example. Only fools believe that taller fences or sharper wire will solve this crisis. The S&D Group have long urged for a European answer and we are delighted with the proposals the Commission has presented today."

"We share the belief in the need for an emergency mechanism with a binding relocation system among member states for an adequate number of migrants. This must be supported by financial sanctions for those countries incapable of hosting refugees and the creation of hotspots. The S&D Group is also satisfied that a new permanent system will de facto replace the anachronistic Dublin regulation. In the longer term, we also encourage setting up a legal framework for economic migrants. Ultimately the European economy needs migrants."

"We urge the European Council to adopt these proposals in order to forget the shameful pages written in June and July. We could have saved thousands more lives if some European leaders had woken up years not weeks ago - when migrants began to knock at their own doors. We don't want to be ashamed as human beings and European citizens anymore. In the longer term we also welcome increased, long-term commitment to cooperation in Africa. We must continue the good work of HRVP Federica Mogherini in finding a political solution to the crisis in Libya and Syria."

"On the State of the Union, our group will judge this Commission on the base of its actions not its words. We demand a Triple A rating for the labour mobility package that fights firmly against social dumbing and gives protections for those in precarious work. We also call for an overall revision of the Posting of Workers directive and a clear response to the concerns of European farmers."

"We urge the Commission to move from words to deeds on tax justice. The time has come for all companies to pay their taxes where they make their profits. To secure this we encourage the adoption of public country-by-country reporting that would represent a major step forward in the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance."

"The Greek crisis showed that our current Monetary Union is no longer enough. It must be reinforced. We call on the Commission to put in place the conclusions of the Five Presidents' Report but also to come back to the idea of Eurobonds to tackle the millstone of Public debt."

"Last but not least, climate change. We expect Europe to be the frontrunner on this global challenge: our economy must be rethought on the base of this new approach, to become a circular and sustainable one."

"It is up to us to decide whether Europe simply manages its decline in the world or changes for the good of all future Europeans."

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