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Meet the prime minister who outlasted 170 European governments

Reuters/Laurent Dubrule
A salute for Mr Euro.
  • Jason Karaian
By Jason Karaian

Global finance and economics editor

EuropePublished This article is more than 2 years old.

Jean-Claude Juncker was the prime minister of Luxembourg for more than 18 years. He officially stepped down on Dec. 4, unseated by a three-party coalition that won a narrow majority of seats in October elections.

In power since January 1995, Juncker was, until recently, the longest-serving elected leader in Europe by some distance. He played a key role in the introduction of the euro as a currency—earning the nickname Mr Euro in some circles—and served as the first president of the influential talking shop of euro-zone finance ministers known as the Eurogroup. A prominent role at the EU level now beckons for the 58-year-old statesman.

To appreciate the length of his tenure during a topsy-turvy time for the European project, particularly in recent years, the chart below shows the number of government leadership changes at other EU member states during Juncker’s tenure. It’s no wonder (pdf) that Juncker is described as “one of Europe’s wiliest and best-connected politicians,” considering the number of faces he’s seen come and go during his time in office—among the 28 countries currently in the EU, Juncker saw governments change hands nearly 170 times.

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