Juncker ready to hand over Eurogroup presidency
(CS) Jean-Claude Juncker hopes to hand over the Eurogroup presidency at the end of the year, Luxembourg's Premier told the Luxemburger Wort in an interview.
Even though Juncker's mandate was meant to come to an end earlier this year, he had signed on to continue in the post, but had made it clear that he wanted to step down by the end of the year. “My colleagues know this," he said.
On Thursday and Friday EU heads of state and government will come together for the autumn summit in Brussels. Some of the main topics up for discussion are the Syrian crisis and the banking union.
Juncker commented that he had always advocated stronger ties and shared responsibilities in matters of budget. Part of this, he said, was to give additional power to the Currency Commissioner.
However, the Premier noted that there was no consensus on reform suggestions, such as those put forward by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, neither within the Eurogroup nor the European Parliament. Debates around the reform are manifold and include issues such as the infringement on national parliament sovereignty.
No Greek exit according to Juncker
Still, Juncker revealed that he thinks decision makers from within the eurozone should be able to form a separate group in parliament, so that questions relating to the single currency are only debated and decided on by countries using the euro. However, he said that this suggestion had not yet been thoroughly discussed.
In any case, Juncker stressed the importance of the reform effort. “The world is waiting for us to show them what shape the EU will take in the future. People inside and outside of Europe want to know where the journey goes.”
Currently, though, euro skepticism is on the rise within the union, despite a boost of confidence from the Nobel Peace Prize.
“People expect concise and comprehensible decisions from the EU or the eurozone and often don't take into account that we are confronted with a crisis, the like of which we have not experienced. There are no easy answers to complicated questions.”
The Premier was also confident that Greece will remain within the eurozone, praising the consolidation efforts by both Spain and Greece. “There is no reasonable room for speculation about a Greek exit,” he said.
Interview by Jakub Adamowicz