Juncker rules out second term

Jean-Claude Juncker will not seek a second term as EU Council president. In an interview he warned that the EU could collapse over the Brexit negotiations and called for unity vis-à-vis the new US president. Some media hope for a fresh wind from Brussels, others praise Juncker's altruism.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Commission president wants EU to wake up

In his announcement Juncker painted a very bleak picture of the Union, leaving the impression that it could soon collapse altogether. Der Standard believes his intention was to galvanise the EU's leaders into action:

“The former 'eternal' prime minister of Luxembourg knows all the tricks. ... He's long seemed weary and rather disillusioned. Since 2008 the Union's never-ending 'multi-crisis' has taken its toll. Even more than that, however, the representative of a united, reconciled and politically integrated Europe is bothered by the fact that time after time 'his' heads of government have left him, the Commission and the Union as a whole in the lurch at the round tables at EU summits. Instead of concentrating on how the Union can get itself out of this situation, instead of opposing the 'destroyers of the EU' with constructive arguments and strategies, a growing number of countries are retreating into egoism and nationalism. It's as if Juncker finally wanted to say: This is not about me (anymore), wake up and fight for the EU.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Union needs new leaders

A new generation of leaders must succeed Juncker at the helm of the EU, Le Monde believes:

“Since 2014 Juncker has been heading a more political, less conservative, less technocratic and less German Commission. ... And yet that's not enough. Europe, which is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Treaty of Maastricht, which launched the euro, and the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, which created the single market, is not just difficult to manage, but impossible. ... The world of Juncker, who participated in the Maastricht negotiations at the end of the 1980s as a young finance minister, is coming to an end. A new generation must now replace him. One with fresh eyes and unburdened by the memory of thousands of compromises hammered out in Brussels over a quarter of a century which now stand for nothing but a dead end.”