Eurogroup: Europe’s common currency needs a full-time chief to battle the sovereign debt crisis, Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview.
Luxembourg’s prime minister told Reuters that the creation of the European Stability Mechanism--the new European rescue fund due to launch in 2013--warranted “a full-time president” to coordinate finance ministers from the 17 euro zone nations.
Eurogroup leader since 2005, Juncker has been criticised for failing to deliver unanimity among euro states during the economic crisis and for making public comments that have unnerved the financial markets. “I am for secret, dark debates,” about European economic policy, he told the press in April, for example.
However, Juncker changed tack on Saturday, during the G7 finance ministers meeting in Marseille. “Given the way I have to fulfil the job, I am increasingly of the opinion that it would be a reasonable step to have a Eurogroup president. It is taking half of my working time as prime minister,” he said in the interview with the news agency.
Juncker is due to give up his post as euro chair in January.
TEXT: Aaron Grunwald · PHOTO(S): Luc Deflorenne (archives)