Luxembourg spying scandal breaks Juncker government

BRUSSELS Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:22pm EDT

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker addresses a news conference during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels June 28, 2013. REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker addresses a news conference during a European Union leaders summit in Brussels June 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Laurent Dubrule

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Luxembourg will hold new elections after the junior coalition partner in Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker's government said he should take political responsibility for failing to curb abuse of power by the secret service.

Luxembourg's parliament on Wednesday reviewed a report it commissioned on the security agency's illegal bugging of politicians, purchase of cars for private use and allegations it took payments and favors in exchange for access to local officials.

The report concluded that Juncker had limited control over the agency despite being the responsible minister and that he failed to inform either the parliamentary committee of control or justice authorities about its operations.

"We invite the prime minister to take full political responsibility in this context and ask the government to intervene with the head of state to clear the path for new elections," Alex Bodry, the president of the socialist coalition partner, told the Luxembourg parliament.

Juncker, who became prime minister in 1995 and is the European Union's longest serving head of government, denied having done anything wrong.

"If you think that you will have to vote," an angry Juncker said earlier on Wednesday after citing a newspaper article that accused him of abusing the secret service for his personal gains and those of his party.

It was not immediately clear whether Juncker would participate in the new elections, which have to take place within three months.

The center-right CSV and its socialist coalition partner hold 39 of the 60 seats in parliament.

Wealthy Luxembourg, a major financial hub, is one of Europe's most politically stable countries. The CSV has led all but one government since World War Two.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Robert-Jan Bartunek and Michele Sinner, Writing by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Alison Williams and David Evans)

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