Thursday

22nd Feb 2018

Juncker re-opens race for Eurogroup chief

  • Jean-Claude Juncker is again looking for a successor at the helm of the Eurogroup (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The head of eurozone finance ministers' meetings (the Eurogroup), Jean-Claude Juncker, has opened the race for his succession, with French finance minister Moscovici or Austrian PM Faymann seen as possible candidates.

"I informed colleagues that the intention when my mandate was renewed last July is that I would step down by the end of this year - early next year. I asked them to do everything possible to appoint another minister as chair of the Eurogroup," Juncker said on Monday (3 December) at a press conference in Brussels.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

As the EU's longest-serving Prime Minister and Eurogroup chair - a post he has held for the past seven years - Juncker has shown signs of physical fatigue and has publicly lamented his kidney stone condition.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was slated as his successor back in June, but the newly elected French President, Francois Hollande, objected to having the budget hawk orchestrate eurozone affairs.

Asked if he still finds Schaeuble a good candidate, Juncker said: "I dont have to endorse anyone, I was asking my colleagues to provide for my succession."

Meanwhile, German government sources say that Schaeuble was never really keen on the job and is now even less interested because his potential mandate would be less than one year long.

The potentially brief mandate is due to the fact that general elections are scheduled in Germany in autumn 2013 and it is unsure whether he would still be finance minister afterwards.

French finance minister Pierre Moscovici could replace Juncker, provided the German government agrees.

The relationship between the two ministers has soured over the last weeks during the negotiations on the Greek bailout and a new EU banking supervisor, however.

Concerns about France's management of its own economic woes are adding to the strains in the Franco-German relationship.

The Financial Times Deutschland reported that a meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French leader Francois Hollande earlier this autumn arranged for a rotation system whereby Moscovici would get the Eurogroup job if he was then to be succeeded by a German.

But the report could not be confirmed in Berlin, while Moscovici himself said he does not know "where this comes from."

Both Moscovici and Schauble praised Juncker and said he was doing a great job.

Seasoned diplomats have said that it is not unthinkable that the Luxembourg politician carries on for another year if there is no agreement on his successor, as was already the case in July.

Meanwhile, Austrian newspaper Kurier meanwhile has reported that Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann could be a compromise solution.

His political flag - he is a Social Democrat - may also appease French concerns of having someone too pro-austerity at the helm.

The Austrian government has consistently advocated for a Prime Minister or President - as is the case with Juncker - to head the Eurogroup.

Finnish PM could replace Juncker as Eurogroup chief

Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen has invited select EU leaders and ministers to a "winter retreat" in Finland in a potential lobbying opportunity for the top job in the eurozone.

Eurogroup chief: 'I'm for secret, dark debates'

Eurozone economic policies should only be conducted via "dark, secret debates", to prevent dangerous movements in financial markets, the Eurogroup chief said on Wednesday, adding that he had often lied in his career to prevent the spread of rumours that could feed speculation.

UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit

Britain wants to negotiate with Brussels the end date of the Brexit transition period - without saying what their preferred end date would be. The UK's position paper disagrees with the EU on other key points too.

News in Brief

  1. Report: EU to increase sanctions on Myanmar
  2. Juncker 'worried' by Italian elections
  3. EU migration to UK at lowest since 2012
  4. MEP Andrieu will chair parliament pesticide committee
  5. Juncker's right-hand man warns of 'institutional blockage'
  6. Greek parliament to open probe on PMs and EU commissioner
  7. May gathers Brexit ministers to hammer out UK position
  8. Tajani asks Juncker for all EMA Brexit relocation documents

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme
  2. Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?
  3. Poland and Greece broke EU environment laws, rules court
  4. Dutch MPs vote on ending 'Ukraine-type' referendums
  5. Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress
  6. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  7. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'
  8. MEPs bar WMD and killer robots from new EU arms fund