Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, at 59, is one of Europe’s longest-serving politicians. Nineteen years his country’s prime minister and 20 years the finance minister of the Grand Duchy, this son of a steelworker in the Christian Social People’s Party is one of the founders of the euro currency.
Juncker was president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, chairing the organisation of rescue plans for financial markets during the height of the euro zone debt crisis.
In 2010, he proposed a European debt management agency that would issue “eurobonds” but the ruling CDU in Berlin nipped that in the bud, and the idea is dormant today.
The conservative European People’s Party candidate to head the EU’s executive body responsible for proposing legislation has said: “Don’t be misled by continuous rumours saying ‘Juncker is not being supported by the CDU because he supports eurobonds.’ There will be no eurobonds with me as president of the Commission for the next five years… because they cannot be introduced.”
Juncker has earned a reputation as impartial and flexible, politically, as well as acerbic and subtle yet humorous.