Jean-Claude Juncker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jean-Claude Juncker
Ioannes Claudius Juncker die 7 Martis 2014.jpg
President-designate of the European Commission
Taking office
November 2014
Succeeding José Manuel Barroso
Prime Minister of Luxembourg
In office
20 January 1995 – 4 December 2013
Monarch Jean
Henri
Deputy Jacques Poos
Lydie Polfer
Jean Asselborn
Preceded by Jacques Santer
Succeeded by Xavier Bettel
Minister for Finance
In office
14 July 1989 – 23 July 2009
Prime Minister Jacques Santer
Preceded by Jacques Santer
Succeeded by Luc Frieden
President of the European Council
In office
1 January 2005 – 1 July 2005
Preceded by Jan Peter Balkenende
Succeeded by Tony Blair
Personal details
Born (1954-12-09) 9 December 1954 (age 59)
Redange, Luxembourg
Political party Christian Social People's Party
Spouse(s) Christiane Frising
Alma mater University of Strasbourg
Religion Roman Catholic
Signature

Jean-Claude Juncker (French pronunciation: ​[ʒ̊ɑ̃ːkloːd ˈjʊŋ.kɐ]; born 9 December 1954) is a politician who was the Prime Minister of Luxembourg from 1995 to 2013. He was the longest-serving head of government of any European Union country, and one of the longest-serving democratically elected leaders in the world, by the time he left office.[1] He was also Luxembourg's Minister for Finances from 1989 to 2009 and the first permanent President of the Eurogroup from 2005 to 2013, his tenure encompassing the height of the European financial and sovereign debt crisis.

Juncker was the candidate of the European People's Party (EPP) for the President of the European Commission going into the 2014 European Parliament elections, which saw the EPP win the most seats.[2] On 27 June, the European Council officially nominated Juncker for the position, and the European Parliament is now expected to vote on the proposed candidate on 14 July.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Juncker was born in Redange, Luxembourg, and spent most of his childhood in Belvaux. His father, Joseph, was a steelworker and a member of the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions who was conscripted by the Wehrmacht after the German occupation of Luxembourg during World War II. Juncker studied at the Clairefontaine in Belgium before returning to Luxembourg to study his Baccalaureate at the Lycée Michel Rodange. In 1974, he joined the Christian Social People's Party. Juncker went on to study law at the University of Strasbourg, graduating with a Masters in Law in 1979. Although he was subsequently sworn into the Luxembourg Bar Council in 1980, he never practised as a lawyer.

Early political career[edit]

Following Juncker's graduation from the University of Strasbourg, he was appointed as a Parliamentary Secretary. He later won election to the Chamber of Deputies for the first time in 1984 and was immediately appointed to the Cabinet of Prime Minister Jacques Santer as Minister of Labour. This led to a chairmans' role at a number of meetings of the Council of the European Communities, where Juncker's pro-Europe credentials first emerged.

Shortly before the 1989 election, Juncker was seriously injured in a road traffic accident, spending two weeks in a coma. He nonetheless recovered in time to be returned to the Chamber of Deputies once more, after which he was promoted to become Minister for Finance, a post traditionally seen as a rite of passage to the premiership of the country. His eventual promotion to Prime Minister seemed at this time inevitable, with political commentators concluding that Santer was grooming Juncker as his successor. Juncker at this time also accepted the position of Governor of the World Bank.

Juncker's second election to Parliament saw him gain prominence within the European Union; Juncker chaired the Council of Economic and Financial Affairs (ECOFIN), becoming a key architect of the Maastricht Treaty. Juncker was largely responsible for clauses on Economic and Monetary Union, the process that would eventually give rise to the Euro, and was himself a signatory to the Treaty in 1992, by which time he had taken over as parliamentary leader of the Christian Social People's Party.

Juncker was re-elected to the Chamber in 1994, maintaining his ministerial role. With Santer ready to be nominated as the next President of the European Commission, it was only six months later that Grand Duke Jean approved the appointment of Juncker as Prime Minister on 20 January 1995, as part of a coalition with the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party. Juncker relinquished his post at the World Bank at this time, but maintained his position as Minister for Finance.

Prime Minister of Luxembourg[edit]

Juncker with the Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on 27 June 2012

Juncker's first term as Prime Minister was focused on an economic platform of international bilateral ties to improve Luxembourg's profile abroad, which included a number of official visits abroad. During one such visit, to Dublin in December 1996, Juncker successfully mediated a dispute over his own EU Economic and Monetary Union policy between French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. The press dubbed Juncker the "Hero of Dublin" for achieving an unlikely consensus between the two.

1997 brought the rotating Presidency of the European Council to Luxembourg, during which time Juncker championed the cause of social integration in Europe, along with constituting the so-called "Luxembourg Process" for integrated European policy against unemployment. He also instigated the "Euro 11", an informal group of European finance ministers for matters regarding his Economic and Monetary Union ideals. For all of these initiatives, he was honoured with the Vision for Europe Award in 1998.

Juncker succeeded in winning another term as Prime Minister in the 1999 election, although the coalition with the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party was broken in favour of one with the Democratic Party. After the 2004 election, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party became the second largest party again, and Juncker again formed a coalition with them. Shortly after re-election, Juncker found himself misinformed at a European Union summit over the condition of then-ailing Palestinian National Authority leader Yasser Arafat. Juncker mistakenly announced his death prematurely, before retracting the claim citing misunderstanding.

In 2005, Juncker inherited a second term as President of the European Council. Shortly after the expiration of his term came Luxembourg's referendum on ratification, and Juncker staked his political career on its success, promising to resign if the referendum failed. The final result was a 56.5% Yes vote on an 88% turnout. His continued allegiance to European ideals earned him the 2006 Karlspreis. In 2009, he denounced the lifting of the excommunication of controversial Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the Society of Saint Pius X.[5]

Juncker with French Prime Minister François Fillon on 29 October 2009

On 19 November 2012, RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg aired a story alleging that the former head of the State Intelligence Service (SREL), Marco Mille, had used a wristwatch to covertly record a confidential conversation with Juncker in 2008.[6][7] According to the report, although Juncker had later found out about the recording, he took no action against Mille and allowed him to leave the service in 2010 for a position with Siemens.[6][8] A transcript of the conversation was published by D'Lëtzebuerger Land, which highlighted the disorganised state of the secret service, mentioned links between Grand Duke Henri and MI6 and referred to the "Bommeleeër" scandal.[9][10] On 4 December 2012, the Chamber of Deputies voted to set up a Parliamentary Inquiry into allegations of SREL misconduct including the illegal bugging of politicians, purchase of cars for private use and allegations of taking payments and favours in exchange for access to officials.[11][12] The inquiry heard from witnesses who claimed that SREL had conducted six or seven illegal wiretapping operations between 2007 and 2009, as well as covert operations in Iraq, Cuba and Libya.[13][14] The report concluded that Juncker had to bear political responsibility for SREL's activities, that he had been deficient in his control over the service and that he had failed to report all of the service's irregularities to the enquiry commission.[12][15] Juncker himself denied wrongdoing.[16]

After a seven-hour debate in the Chamber of Deputies on 10 July, the withdrawal of support from the Christian Social People's Party's coalition partner, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP), forced Juncker to agree to new elections.[17] Juncker tendered his resignation to the Grand Duke on 11 July.[12] Alex Bodry, President of LSAP and Chair of the Parliamentary Inquiry into SREL, declared his lack of confidence in Juncker, saying: "We invite the prime minister to take full political responsibility in this context and ask the government to intervene with the head of state to clear the path for new elections."[16] As of 11 July 2013 the Grand Duke had not made public any decision when to dissolve the legislature and call a new election.[12] Juncker has stated he would be keen to lead his party in a forthcoming election if they wish for him to do so.[18] After the election, Juncker was succeeded on 4 December 2013 by Xavier Bettel.

President of the Eurogroup[edit]

"Monetary policy is a serious issue. We should discuss this in secret, in the Eurogroup [...]
The same applies to economic and monetary policies in the Union. If we indicate possible
decisions, we are fuelling speculations on the financial markets and we are throwing in misery
mainly the people we are trying to safeguard from this [...] Actions on the financial markets
are taking place in real time. We don't always agree at each and every debate on monetary
policy, but meanwhile markets are reacting. [...] I am for secret, dark debates"
— Juncker, on the constraints to openness from market actors, during the the euro-crisis, 20 April 2011.[19]

In 2004, the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers decided to replace the rotating chairmanship with a permanent president. Juncker was appointed as the first permanent president and assumed the chair on 1 January 2005. He was re-appointed for a second term in September 2006.[20] Under the Lisbon Treaty, this system was formalised and Juncker was confirmed for another term.[21] Juncker stepped down on 21 January 2013, when he was succeeded by Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

During his period as "Mr. Euro", the group was instrumental in negotiating and supervising bailout packages for the countries that faced bankruptcy: Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus.[22]

Juncker was also an outspoken proponent of enhanced internal co-operation and increased international representation of the group.[23]

In a debate in 2011, during the height of the eurozone crisis, Juncker responded to a conference-goer's suggestion to increase the openness of the strategy discussions in the eurogroup. He thereby stated he believed the ongoing discussions needed to kept confidential to prevent markets from betting against troubled countries and putting "millions of people at risk", and that he had not been used to such level of secrecy. He further stated that when asked by a journalist to comment on those meetings he had had to lie, making clear it went against his personal moral conviction as a Catholic.[24][25]

President of the European Commission[edit]

It was often suggested in the press that Juncker, like his predecessor Jacques Santer, could eventually leave his position as Prime Minister to become the President of the European Commission. During his last participation in a committee debate in the European Parliament he responded to the suggestion by Austrian MEP Hans-Peter Martin that he "should become the next Commission President" with "Yes", fuelling speculation that he might be a candidate for the role in 2014.[26]

In March 2014, at the Congress of the European People's Party (EPP) held in Dublin, Juncker was elected as the EPP's candidate to become Commission President after the 2014 European Parliament elections. For the first time, this post will be filled "taking into account" the outcome of the pan-European election.[27] After the election, in which EPP-affiliated candidates won a plurality of seats (221 of 751, or 29%), Juncker and his supporters argued that he had won a mandate to become President. Opponents argued that he lacked democratic legitimacy because less than 10% of the EU-wide electorate could name him.[28]

In the European Council, Juncker's nomination was initially opposed by a number of heads of government, including those of the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and Hungary.[29] Others, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had been opposed in principle to setting a precedent of following the recommendation of the European Parliament.[30] Following back-room diplomacy,[31] he was officially nominated for the position on 27 June by the European Council,[3] with only the UK and Hungary voting against the nomination. Juncker must be endorsed by the European Parliament before taking the role.

Awards and decorations[edit]

National honours[edit]

Academic and other distinctions[edit]

  • 1998 – Honorary Doctor of Miami University
  • 1998 – "Vision for Europe Award" from the Edmond Israel Foundation[33]
  • 1998 – "Médaille d'or de la Fondation Jean-Monnet" (Gold Medal for Services to Europe)
  • 1999 – European Crafts Prize 1999 of North Rhine-Westphalia
  • 2000 – Insignia de l'Artisanat en Or (Gold Badge), of the Luxembourg Chamber of Crafts
  • 2001 – Honorary Doctor of the University of Münster
  • 2002 – Cicero-Speakers Prize
  • 2002 – Prize of the European Federation of Taxpayers
  • 2003 – Honorary Doctor of the University of Bucharest
  • 2003 – Honorary Freedom of the City of Trier
  • 2003 – Heinrich Braun Award
  • 2003 – Quadriga Prize in the European Year of German Society Workshop
  • 2004 – Honorary Doctor of the Democritus University of Thrace
  • 2004 – Honorary Citizen and Freeman of the City of Orestiada; with unveiling a street named after the Prime Minister Juncker
  • 2005 – Walter Hallstein Prize
  • 2005 – Europeans of the Year
  • 2005 – Elsie Kuhn Leitz Prize from the "Association of Franco-German Companies"
  • 2006 – Européen de l'Année 2005 (European of the Year 2005) from the French Press (Trombinoscope)
  • 2006 – International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen
  • 2006 – European Prize for Political Culture of the Hans Ringier Foundation
  • 2007 – Foreign Associate Member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences, Institut de France in lieu of the late Léopold Sédar Senghor
  • 2007 – Patron of the not-for-profit Animal Protection Association "EV Newfoundlanders"
  • 2007 – St. Liborius Medal for Unity and Peace of the Archdiocese of Paderborn
  • 2007 – Coudenhove-Kalergi Medal of the European Union Munster
  • 2007 – Peace Prize of the European Foundation for Ecology and Democracy
  • 2007 – Honorary Doctor of Robert Schuman University of Strasbourg
  • 2007 – Honorary Member of the Grand Ducal Institute of Luxembourg, Department of Moral and Political Sciences
  • 2008 – Amilcar Cabral Medal, First Class of the Republic of Cape Verde
  • 2008 – German Citizenship Prize
  • 2008 – Franz Josef Strauss Prize
  • 2008 – Honorary Doctor of Pittsburgh University
  • 2008 – State Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia
  • 2008 – Sharpest Blade Prize (City of Solingen)
  • 2008 – Small State Award of the Herbert Batliner-Europa Institute in Salzburg
  • 2008 – European Banker of the Year
  • 2009 – European Prize for Service Economies
  • 2009 – European Union Gold Medal (with Star)
  • 2009 – FASEL Foundation Award
  • * 2009 – Social Market Economy, MA
  • 2009 – Honorary Senator of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • 2010 – Winfried Freedom of the City of Fulda
  • 2010 – Thomas a Kempis honorary stele
  • 2010 – Honorary Doctor of Medicine University of Innsbruck
  • 2010 – Saarland Medal of Merit
  • 2011 – Medal of Merit of Baden-Württemberg
  • 2011 – Medal of Merit of Rhineland-Palatinate
  • 2011 – Honorary Doctor of the Faculty of Law, University of Athens
  • 2011 – Hanns Martin Schleyer Award
  • 2011 – European Culture Prize
  • 2012 – Werner Blindert Prize
  • 2012 – Sigillum Magnum, University of Bologna
  • 2012 – Honorary Doctor of the University of Sheffield.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ McDonald-Gibson, Charlotte (11 July 2013). "Luxembourg PM Jean-Claude Juncker calls snap elections amid secret service scandal – risking longest held office for any EU leader". The Independent. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Results of the 2014 European elections". European Parliament. 28 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "EU backs Juncker to head Commission". BBC. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "EU leaders give thumbs up to Juncker, Britain isolated". EurActiv. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Réaction de Jean-Claude Juncker à la réhabilitation par le pape d'un évêque négationniste". Gouvernement.lu. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Premier Juncker: Vum Geheimdéngscht mat Auer ofgelauschtert!". RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg (in Luxembourgish). 19 November 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Neuger, James (11 July 2013). "Secrets and Lies in Luxembourg". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Juncker tapped by secret service in 2008". Luxemburger Wort. 20 November 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Secret recording alleges ties between Grand Duke and British Secret Service". Luxemburger Wort. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Wer bespitzelte Juncker und Henri?". Tageblatt (in German). 30 November 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Parliament to launch enquiry into secret service activities". Luxemburger Wort. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Luxembourg PM Juncker offers government resignation". BBC News. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "SREL director reveals illegal wire tapping". Luxemburger Wort. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  14. ^ Robinson, Frances (10 July 2013). "Luxembourg Juncker: Secret Service Wasn't My Top Priority". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "Enquiry commission to debate Juncker's responsibility in secret service scandal". Luxemburger Wort. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Luxembourg spying scandal breaks Juncker government". Reuters. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  17. ^ "Luxembourg Prime Minister Juncker calls for new elections amid scandal". Deutsche Welle. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  18. ^ Bodoni, Stephanie (11 July 2013). "Juncker Hands Fate to Luxembourg Ruler as Coalition Fails". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Eurogroup chief: 'I'm for secret, dark debates'", EUobserver, 21 April 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  20. ^ "Juncker re-elected Eurogroup president, voicing optimism over economic growth". People's Daily. 9 September 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  21. ^ "Luxembourg leader set to extend euro zone reign". EUobserver. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  22. ^ "Who is Jean-Claude Juncker?". EUobserver. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  23. ^ "Juncker wants more eurozone activism". EUobserver. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  24. ^ "Economic policy of the eurozone needs to be decided in "dark, secret rooms"". EUobserverTV. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  25. ^ "Eurogroup chief: 'I'm for secret, dark debates'". EUobserver. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  26. ^ Deutsche Welle, 21 January 2013: New boss for the eurozone
  27. ^ "EU veteran Juncker wins centre-right backing for top Brussels job". Reuters. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  28. ^ "New AECR/AMR poll destroys Jean-Claude Juncker’s mandate". AECR. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  29. ^ "Merkel meets Juncker opponents in Sweden mini-summit". Deutsche Welle. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  30. ^ "Has Merkel lost her touch?". The Economist. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  31. ^ "EU leaders choose Juncker, despite UK opposition". CNBC. 27 June 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  32. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (PDF) (in German). p. 1978. Retrieved November 2012. 
  33. ^ "ECB: The European project and the challenges of the future". Ecb.europa.eu. 11 November 1999. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jacques Santer
Minister for Finance
1989–2009
Succeeded by
Luc Frieden
Prime Minister of Luxembourg
1995–2013
Succeeded by
Xavier Bettel
Preceded by
Viviane Reding
Luxembourgish European Commissioner
Designate

2014–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission
Designate

2014–present
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jean Spautz
Leader of the Christian Social People's Party
1990–1995
Succeeded by
Erna Hennicot-Schoepges
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Office Created
President of the Eurogroup
2005–2013
Succeeded by
Jeroen Dijsselbloem
Academic offices
Preceded by
Javier Solana
Speaker at the College of Europe Opening Ceremony
2006
Succeeded by
David Miliband