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Wednesday 22nd
posted by Morning Star in World

THE European Parliament confirmed today that former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker would be the next president of the European Commission by 423 votes to 209.

Mr Juncker, who led the notorious tax haven for 18 years until 2013, forms part of a new hard-right leadership of the European Union due to take over next month.

He will serve alongside new Council of Ministers President Donald Tusk, the Thatcherite former Polish PM, who will succeed Hermann van Rompuy.

As chair of the eurozone finance ministers’ group between 2005 and 2013, Mr Juncker was a remorseless advocate of vicious spending cuts in “bailed-out” European economies.

He repeated yesterday that the EU Stability and Growth Pact, which requires member states to cut borrowing to below 3 per cent of GDP, would “not be changed.”

And he called for private-sector investment to solve Europe’s chronic economic problems and claimed he would reveal details of a €300 billion (£237bn) investment plan by the end of the year.

But he dismissed public investment on the grounds that it would mean “further expanding debt.”

Mr Juncker tried to appease critics of the secretive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US despite remaining “committed” to it.

He claimed the investor state dispute settlement clause, which would allow private firms to sue governments if they took action which could harm profits, remained “open” and his new vice-president Frans Timmerman would be “monitoring” it.