Tuesday 28 October 2008

The Great Juncker: Back to the nation state (updated)

Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg and head of the informal group of EU countries that use the Euro as their currency, was the "star" in an interview at France 2 last week.

Cédric Puisney, the European who is never satisfield, was so kind to give access to the full report in his article, including discussions in the European Parliament, a short presentation of the functioning of money laundering, and from minute six of the video you can see the interview with Mr Juncker.

The interviewer starts with a reference to a statement made by EU Council President Nicolas Sarkozy, in which the latter addresses Juncker directly (in his function as Prime Minister), demanding that if the EU will ask from other countries to close tax havens, some of their own countries (which means, inter alia, Luxembourg) will need to implement better and more transparent rules themselves.

In the interview (in French), Juncker tries to defend his country against the comparison with "classical" tax havens like the Bahamas. However, he looks pretty much in a defence position, trying to discredit the report of France 2 and not really reacting to the argumentation of the news presentor David Pujadas.

Only in one of the last sentences he admits that the common position of other European countries regarding the bank secrecy is not in accordance with the position of Luxembourg (or, vice versa...), which is why the country did not participate in a reunion of finance ministers discussing these questions.

Altogether, a report and an interview well worth seeing, because they reflect the changements the European Union is going through in these days of crisis, and because they present Juncker not in his typical positive European light, but in a national defence position, something that does not suit him too well.


I just read in an article from Le Monde that the day after the interview had been aired, the Information Director of France 2 excused the report and the interview. Ridicule...