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European Parliament confirms Juncker as president

MEMBERS of the European Parliament gave former Luxembourg PM Jean-Claude Juncker a clear majority today to confirm him as president of the European Commission.

He got 422 votes out of the 729 in total who voted, putting David Cameron’s nose out of joint.

Mr Juncker is a committed Eurocentralist and will succeed incumbent Jose Manuel Barroso of Portugal in November.

He used his acceptance speech to MEPs to pledge that the commission would be a “political body” rather than just the bloc’s Civil Service.

Mr Juncker claimed that, while the old European Monetary System before the single currency had aggravated inflation and tensions between EU states, the euro “protects Europe.”

Its disciplines had ensured monetary stability, he insisted.

As chairman of the eurozone finance ministers Mr Juncker played a key role in putting together so-called bailouts for Greece, Portugal and other struggling countries at the height of the euro crisis in 2010-2012.

He likened that role to “trying to keep a burning plane in the air while repairing it — you burn your fingers sometimes.”

But he showed no compassion or understanding for the workers in these states who paid the price of bailing out the private banking system.

He said that the eurozone should create a joint budget, separate from the EU budget, to help countries making difficult structural reforms.

The incoming president also floated the idea of €300 billion (£238bn) investment plan to boost growth and create jobs, although he did not touch on where this sum might come from.

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