24th Mar 2018

Juncker faces battle to remain Luxembourg PM

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker faces a battle to remain his country's leader after his Christian Democrat party lost ground in elections at the weekend.

Results from Sunday's poll gave Juncker's CSV party 33.7 percent of the vote, giving them 23 seats in the 60-seat parliament, down from 26.

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The result is the CSV's worst performance since 1999, but still leaves them comfortably ahead of the opposition.

The centre-left Socialist party and the liberals, both of whom were part of Juncker's coalition government, each claimed 13 seats with 20.3 percent of the vote and 18.3 percent, respectively. The Green party took six seats.

For his part, Claude Meisch, leader of the liberal party, has hinted at the possibility of an alternative coalition without Juncker.

“I think its too early to discuss coalitions, and different types of coalition…but what is already clear now, Luxembourg has voted for a change and it's our mission to realise the change for the next years,” said Meisch.

The veteran Juncker, who has also been in control of the country's finance ministry, is the longest serving premier in the EU, having become Prime Minister in 1995.

He has also been a prominent and permanent figure at EU level in recent years, serving as the first chairman of the Eurogroup, which brings together the 17 countries using the euro, before standing down at the start of 2013.

As a result, Juncker was closely involved in the bailout negotiations for Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

Juncker had called a snap election in July following allegations that the country's national security agency is involved in phone-tapping and corruption.

Describing himself as "satisfied" with the weekend's results, Juncker said there was "a huge distance between my party and the two other main political parties."

"We should be entitled to form the next government," he added.

Commission sticks to its line on Barroso case

In a letter to a coalition of transparency NGOs, the EU executive has repeated that a meeting between its former boss - now working for Goldman Sachs - and the current vice president was "fully in line" with the rules.

EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'

EU leaders demanded a permanent exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium - and ruled out any bilateral trade talks within the 1 May deadline set by Donald Trump.

EU rejects US trade 'gun to the head'

EU leaders demanded a permanent exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium - and ruled out any bilateral trade talks within the 1 May deadline set by Donald Trump.

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