Juncker Says Possible Dijsselbloem to Be Eurogroup Head

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean- Claude Juncker said he has “reasons to believe” Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem could be his successor as head of the group of 17 euro-area finance ministers.

“I have reasons to believe that the Dutch finance minister could become chairman of the eurogroup,” Juncker said in an interview with Luxembourg radio 100.7 today. He said he expects to request nominations by early January and “that there will only be one candidacy.”

Juncker, who was appointed to a new 30-month term as eurogroup head in July, said earlier this month that he will step down from that role by the end of January. Juncker has led meetings of the euro-area finance ministers since 2005.

“The news that’s been repeated that leaders of the euro area came to an agreement at the last summit” last week in Brussels “is wrong,” Juncker said in the interview. “I don’t exclude -- not at all -- that my Dutch colleague will take over this role, but there’s been no agreement on this and there was no discussion among the 17 on this either.”

Juncker said in the interview that he is in regular contact with EU President Herman Van Rompuy, who like Juncker, consults other government leaders.

“I expect that after some more talks with Van Rompuy, early January I will ask my colleagues to submit candidacies on which we will vote at the eurogroup meeting in January,” said Juncker. “I expect that there will be one candidacy only.”

The euro-area finance ministers are scheduled to meet on Jan. 21 in Brussels.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at sbodoni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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