Luxembourg - Leadership

Juncker has demonstrated a commitment to maintaining Luxembourg's important position in international finance. At the same time, he remains faithful to his country's tradition of cooperation with its neighbors. The EU is the focal point for Luxembourg's political and economic future. In his view, the more closely Luxembourg works with its neighbors, the more secure the future of the country will be. Close coordination with the EU means surrendering a measure of sovereignty. Some of the larger EU countries, such as Britain, have resisted the trend towards a stronger EU. Juncker, however, has unambiguously cast Luxembourg's lot with the EU. While a minister in Santer's government, he strongly supported endorsement of the Maastricht Treaty, which called for closer coordination of economic and political policies among EU states. The Chamber of Deputies agreed to the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. Among the treaty's requirements is the commitment by the EU members to the European Monetary Union (EMU). Strict qualifying stipulations, or "convergence criteria," were issued by the EU for entry into the EMU. Those stipulations required that a state should keep inflation low, that its budget deficit be modest, and that its overall debt be confined to certain limits. As finance minister at the time of agreement to meet these EMU guidelines, and later as prime minister, Juncker was responsible for shaping relevant government policy. To nobody's surprise, Luxembourg joined EMU in 1999, and in 2002, the euro was introduced as common currency.

Juncker also occupied positions in international institutions that are important to Luxembourg's position as a center of finance and enhance his country's image in the international community. From 1989 to 1995, he served as a governor of the World Bank, providing him with a detailed understanding of the international economy. In February 1995, he was named a governor of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), where he was able to follow and influence monetary and fiscal policy in a large number of nations around the world. The vantage points of the World Bank and IMF have provided Juncker with the opportunity to gain insight into world trade, the financial viability of various countries, and the borrowing needs of nations seeking to further develop their resources and industries.

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