In a state of the union speech before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday hailed the "herculean" efforts of the Greek people to overcome the country's financial crisis.
Juncker noted that Greece had completed a program aimed at stabilizing its finances and was standing on its own two feet, noting that some in Europe do not give the country the credit it is due, and insisting that he had always defended Greece, its dignity and its role in Europe and the eurozone.
Referring to the sudden breakout of World War I in 1914, Juncker called for greater respect for the role of the EU as a "guarantor of peace."
“I am not suggesting that we are on the verge of a similar catastrophe in Europe," he said. "Let’s be happy that we live on a continent of peace, on a continent that enjoys peace thanks to the European Union."
“Let us show more respect to the European Union," he said. "Let us not sully it’s image. Let us defend our way of life, our way of being. Let’s embrace the kind of patriotism that is not directed against others, and let us decry kneejerk national which attacks others and seeks scape goats rather than looking for solutions that allow us to co-exist better."