“The security and borders of EU member states are untouchable. I want this to be understood very clearly in Moscow,” Juncker told the European Parliament in his first State of the Union address.
“Poland and the Baltic states and others … are very important members of the EU and they should not think that (in a crisis) we would not be there,” he said.
“We have a duty to protect the security of everyone.”
Juncker said the Baltic countries and Poland “have to know that solidarity is not an empty word. We are there now and we will be there if ever there is a need.”
According to the text of his speech, which was not read in full, Juncker said that while the EU should “keep our nerve” on tough Ukraine sanctions against Russia, the bloc should not close the door to Moscow in efforts to solve a conflict which has cost nearly 8,000 lives.
“The EU must show Russia the cost of confrontation but it must also make clear it is prepared to engage,” he said in the text.
Broad EU economic sanctions against Russia are due to expire at the end of January.
The EU has no armed forces of its own to command and defense is solely a national responsibility but Juncker has been a long-term backer of the idea of a European army.
He also told MEPs that the bloc had to have a more assertive foreign policy to make sure its voice was heard in solving the many conflicts such as in Syria and Libya which directly affect its security and well-being.