Juncker rules out European Commission, ECB jobs

LuxembourgLuxembourg- One of the most influential politicians in the European Union, Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker, on Friday ruled out running for the leadership of the EU's executive or the European Central Bank (ECB).

In an interview with the Friday edition of Luxembourg daily Tageblatt, Juncker responded to media speculation that he could head either the ECB or the European Commission next year by saying, "I am not interested in either the commission nor the central bank!"

In 2002, Juncker rejected the post of commission president, saying that he preferred to remain in national politics - a promise he had made in his then-election campaign. The post instead went to then-Portuguese prime minister Jose Manuel Barroso.

"I don't see why I should be the only one who has to make promises all the time," he replied to a Tageblatt comment that he had made no such promise at the most recent election.

"If it can reassure you: no. That will also reassure Mr Barroso," he said when asked to confirm his lack of interest in either post.

Juncker is the longest-serving political leader in the EU, having served as his country's premier for 13 years and its finance minister for almost 19 years. He also heads the conference of EU member states which use the common currency, the euro.

In recent months he has repeatedly been named as a potential president of the council of EU member states, a post which is created in the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

However, on June 12 Irish voters rejected the treaty in a referendum, leaving the post of council president in abeyance.

The council of member states is the highest political authority in the EU. The commission is mandated by the council to draw up EU laws and enforce them once they have been approved by member states and the European Parliament.

The current commission's mandate is set to expire next year. Barroso is widely reported as wanting a second term. (dpa)