-
Advertorial
-
FOCUS
-
Guide
-
Lifestyle
-
Tech and Vogue
-
TechandScience
-
CHTF Special
-
Nanhan
-
Asian Games
-
Hit Bravo
-
Special Report
-
Junior Journalist Program
-
World Economy
-
Opinion
-
Diversions
-
Hotels
-
Movies
-
People
-
Person of the week
-
Weekend
-
Photo Highlights
-
Currency Focus
-
Kaleidoscope
-
Tech and Science
-
News Picks
-
Yes Teens
-
Fun
-
Budding Writers
-
Campus
-
Glamour
-
News
-
Digital Paper
-
Food drink
-
Majors_Forum
-
Speak Shenzhen
-
Business_Markets
-
Shopping
-
Travel
-
Restaurants
-
Hotels
-
Investment
-
Yearend Review
-
In depth
-
Leisure Highlights
-
Sports
-
World
-
QINGDAO TODAY
-
Entertainment
-
Business
-
Markets
-
Culture
-
China
-
Shenzhen
-
Important news
在线翻译:
szdaily -> Person of the week
Jean-Claude Juncker wins powerful EU job
     2014-July-18  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Luxembourg’s former conservative premier Jean-Claude Juncker won the endorsement July 15 of the European Parliament to become president of the powerful European Commission for the next five years.

Jean-Claude Juncker wins powerful EU job

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER won a wide endorsement from the European Parliament on July 15 to be the next head of the executive European Commission after setting out a “grand coalition” investment program to help revive Europe’s economy.

    Belying his reputation as a grey backroom fixer, Juncker spoke with passion of his ambition to “reindustrialize” Europe and put the European Union’s 25 million unemployed, many of them young, back into work.

    He promised a 300-billion-euro (US$406 billion) public-private investment program over the next three years, combining existing and perhaps augmented resources from the EU budget and the European Investment Bank with private sector funds, to build energy, transport and broadband networks and industry clusters.

    “We need a reindustrialization of Europe,” the 59-year-old former Luxembourg prime minister said. He won support from the Socialists and Liberals as well as his own center-right bloc, the largest in the EU legislature.

    The position he assumes is the most powerful in the EU. The commission proposes and enforces laws for 500 million Europeans, from Ireland in the west to Lithuania in the east.

    Juncker acknowledged many Europeans had lost confidence in the EU and said only economic results and full employment, not endless debate over EU institutions, would restore their trust.

    Eurosceptic parties topped May’s European Parliament elections in France and Britain and won more than a quarter of the seats in the Strasbourg-based assembly.

    In a secret ballot, the EU assembly approved Juncker by 422 votes to 250, with 47 abstentions and 10 spoiled ballots.

    The score, bigger than his center-right predecessor Jose Manuel Barroso of Portugal achieved, fell short of the combined 479 votes of the center-right, center-left and liberal groups.

    He will take office Nov. 1 barring any delay in the formation of the full 28-member commission, whose members will undergo confirmation hearings in September before an overall vote of confidence in October.

    In a speech delivered in French, German and English, Juncker sought to reassure Germany and other north European fiscal hawks that the 28-nation bloc’s strict rules on budget deficits and debt reduction would be maintained.

    However, his emphasis on public investment, reaffirmation of a target of raising industry to 20 percent of EU economic output and call for a minimum wage in each EU country, were designed to appeal to the left.

    To British sceptics demanding a return of powers from Brussels to national capitals, he declared that Europe could not be built against nation states and should focus on the big common challenges and not intervene in “small problems.”

    Juncker later told a news conference he was willing to negotiate with Britain on a list it intended to put forward of EU powers to be returned to national capitals.

    “I will negotiate with David Cameron and with others and we will make a fair deal with Britain,” he said.

    He was heckled by Eurosceptics but applauded by most lawmakers when he said the euro had protected Europeans in the world economy, and quoted former French President Francois Mitterrand as saying that nationalism only led to war.

    Juncker is a controversial figure, as a leading advocate of deeper EU integration, and is often called a “federalist.”

    A veteran of Brussels deal-making, he headed the powerful Eurogroup — the eurozone finance ministers — at the height of the eurozone crisis, when crucial decisions were taken about austerity and bailout conditions.

    Juncker was prime minister of Luxembourg from 1995 to 2013 and one of the architects of the euro.

    But according to Pierre Leyers, financial editor of the daily Luxemburger Wort, it is misleading to call him a “federalist.” “He wants deeper integration, but not a European superstate,” he said.

    Leyers argued that coming from a tiny country had enhanced Juncker’s influence in the EU, odd though that may seem to people unfamiliar with Brussels politics.

    The drive for post-war reconciliation shaped Juncker’s political views.

    Early in his political career he worked for Luxemburg Prime Minister Pierre Werner, who helped to forge the Franco-German bond at the heart of the European project.

    Werner came up with a plan for monetary union which was later developed by Jacques Delors.

    Juncker went on to become one of the world’s longest-serving democratically elected leaders.

    But some of his past remarks have raised eyebrows, suggesting a less than firm commitment to democracy.

    Ahead of the French vote on the European Constitution in 2005, he said: “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go,’ and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue.’”

    And in 2011 he said “monetary policy is a serious issue — we should discuss this in secret, in the Eurogroup... I am for secret, dark debates.”

    His greatest EU challenge has been shoring up the eurozone since the 2008 financial crash, when Greece’s colossal debts, and those of other struggling eurozone countries, threatened the very survival of the single currency.

    In a high-profile TV debate on May 15, Juncker said he had worked “night and day” to rescue Greece.

    He is by far the most popular politician in Luxembourg, added the journalist at the Grand Duchy’s leading daily.

    Juncker is a strong advocate of a European “solidarity” union — an EU that strives to raise living standards in its poorest regions and sectors.

    He has not explained how an EU-U.S. free trade deal might impact on EU social protection policies, which currently cost the EU many billions through support for farmers and projects to help poor communities.

    He claimed that such a deal would give each European an extra 545 euros — an exaggeration, according to a fact check by Eurovision, which hosted the debate.

    He has also defended the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), saying agriculture employs about 30 million Europeans. But the U.K. Government is among the many critics who say the CAP is wasteful and want more of the EU budget spent on digital technologies, research and investment in small businesses.

    Mats Persson, director of the Open Europe think-tank, says Juncker is associated with the EU of the 1980s and 1990s, echoing a criticism attributed to Prime Minister Cameron.

    After an election that saw a surge in support for Eurosceptic parties, that connection with past EU policies may be a disadvantage, Persson said.

    However, Juncker is not vague about the political risks of taking tough economic decisions. He once said, “We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it.”

    (SD-Agencies)

深圳报业集团版权所有, 未经授权禁止复制; Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.
Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn