Monday, July 16, 2012

Interview with Jean-Claude Juncker: 'Europe Will Either Succeed or Fail Together'

July 16, 2012

In a SPIEGEL interview, Euro Group president and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, 57, discusses the dispute between Germany and Italy at the recent EU summit, why he believes Merkel is wrong about euro bonds and his desire to have an elected president of the European Union.

SPIEGEL: Prime Minister Juncker, are there now dual versions of European Union summits?

Juncker: What do you mean?

SPIEGEL: When referring to the most recent meeting in Brussels, some say that German Chancellor Angela Merkel made substantial concessions to the southern countries, while others claim that no concessions were made at all. Who's right?

Juncker: We achieved good results at the summit, results that we developed collectively and for which we are collectively responsible. I don't see that the chancellor quietly gave her blessing to everything that was presented to her. The German press's blanket interpretation of the results of the summit was completely wrong. Mrs. Merkel didn't fail; instead, she succeeded in cooperation with others.

SPIEGEL: But it's indisputable that Spain is getting more time for its austerity program. Besides, the chancellor agreed to a loosening of the requirements for European banks and governments to receive money from the European bailout funds in the future. She was opposed to that before the summit.

Juncker: I think it's a bad idea to compare the results of euro summits with earlier statements. The fact is that we were able to make our tools to rescue the euro more efficient. It's also a fact that there was no significant curtailing of conditions for aid to countries in crisis. This was particularly important to the Germans and, in that respect, Merkel did prevail.


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