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Juncker faces first test as Euro chief

Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 01:58

Jean-Claude Juncker and his European Commission face a censure motion in the European Parliament next week. As David Pollard reports it comes after Eurosceptic lawmakers united to condemn the role Juncker played in Luxembourg tax schemes.

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His appointment was fiercely opposed by many euro sceptics - and by UK prime minister, David Cameron. Now some of them are going back for a second bite. Within weeks of the new European Commission's first meeting, the European Parliament is to consider a censure motion against the Commission's new chief. Jean-Claude Juncker is accused of being directly responsible for tax policies in Luxembourg which are now under investigation for unfairly attracting multinational business. He was the country's prime minister for two decades until a year ago. The motion - which, technically, is against the whole Commission - is being brought by an alliance of Britain's UKIP, France's National Front and Italy's 5-Star Movement. It's thought unlikely to attract the two-thirds majority required to force the Commission from office. But does add more pain to Europe's already long list of ailments, says Richard Hunter of Hargreaves Lansdown. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RICHARD HUNTER, HEAD OF EQUITIES, HARGREAVES LANSDOWN, SAYING: ''The last thing that the euro authorities need at the moment is any sort of divisions. We've obviously got a two-, maybe three-speed economy going on in Europe. It's certainly the world's second economy if you add the countries together. Needless to say, youth unemployment in certain pockets remains a large problem, growth is anaemic, Germany's only just recently avoided recession and, of course, have something of an absolute fear of hyper-inflation, which QE could potentially bring, given their experiences in the inter-war period.'' Juncker is also coming under scrutiny for some of his current actions. On taking office, he promised to present a new 300 billion euro investment plan - due to be unveiled before Christmas. But more and more are asking: where will those billions come from? Of the euro zone's 28 governments, only Germany appears able to increase investment - something which, despite appeals from across the euro zone - it's steadfastly refused to do.

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Juncker faces first test as Euro chief

Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 01:58