The year 2017 was eventful for the EU and its member states. Given the widespread Euroscepticism and populism which appeared to be on the rise last year, election results in the Netherlands, France and Germany were greeted with relief and hope for the future. The EU was in an optimistic mood. European Commission President Jean- Claude Juncker used his State of the European Union speech in September to note that the EU had the ‘wind in its sails’ (Juncker, 2017). At the same time, he cautioned that the fair weather conditions would not last long - there was no room for complacency. The EU had to act to protect, empower and defend its citizens. The EU moved forward on a number of policy fronts in the wake of the Brexit vote and also concluded high-profile international trade deals in an effort to fill the vacuum left by the protectionist policies of the Trump administration.
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