Juncker re-elected eurogroup chairman

14:25, January 19, 2010      

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Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean- Claude Juncker was re-elected on Monday as chairman to lead the 16- nation euro zone until mid-2012.

"Jean-Claude Juncker was elected chairman of the Eurogroup for 2.5 years by unanimity," his spokesman Guy Schuller said.

The unanimous approval of his new term was given by finance ministers from the 16 eurozone countries at their monthly meeting in Brussels late Monday.

Juncker has headed the informal group of eurozone finance ministers since January 2005, presiding over their monthly meetings which are intended to improve coordination of economic policies within the single currency club.

The previous term for eurogroup chairman was two years and Juncker's latest mandate should expire at the end of 2010, but the European Union (EU)'s Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in December, gives the eurogroup a formal status with a president who serves for two and a half years, making a revote necessary.

While eurozone finance ministers continue to meet informally, meaning they adopt no conclusions, they will now have greater scope to set their own rules on budgets and economic policy.

They can also vote on a unified eurozone position in international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and G20.

Juncker, 55, is the EU's longest-serving leader. He has been the Prime Minister of Luxembourg since 1995, and is also his country's treasury minister.

Source: Xinhua
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