Juncker confirms he to quit as Eurogroup chief: paper

BERLIN Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:54am EDT

BERLIN (Reuters) - Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker has reaffirmed his plan to stand down as head of the Eurogroup assembly of euro zone finance ministers in mid-2012, according to the pre-release of an interview by German weekly Die Zeit.

Asked if he would give up the job, Juncker was quoted by Die Zeit as saying: "Yes, this is still the state of affairs".

Citing a heavy workload and health issues, Juncker has already said he does not want to remain in a post he has held for more than seven years, but there has been talk he may be asked to stay on while the sovereign debt crisis persists.

Eurogroup officials decided earlier this month to postpone a decision on who will be their next chairman.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is in the running for the high-level job, one of several up for grabs in what is expected to be a round of political horse-trading to ensure a balance of power in the European Union.

In the interview with Die Zeit, Juncker bemoaned the lack of "breakneck European audacity" among his peers, whom he described as "ungifted pragmatists" only focused on managing their heritage.

"My generation, currently holding the reins of power, must learn to finally cement Europe," he was quoted as saying.

(Reporting By Sarah Marsh, editing by Gareth Jones)