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Trichet Backs Juncker for Top EU Job Over U.K. Opposition

Former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker
Former Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker has said he should get the job as the next head of the European Commission on the basis that he’s the candidate of the European People’s Party, the group of national political parties that won most seats in the European Parliament elections last month. Photographer:Axel Schmidt/Getty Images

June 11 (Bloomberg) -- Former European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet entered the tussle over who leads the European Commission, backing Jean-Claude Juncker’s bid to win the post over U.K. opposition.

Trichet, a Frenchman who as ECB chief until 2011 helped steer the euro area’s response to the sovereign debt crisis as Juncker led meetings of the region’s finance ministers, said the former Luxembourg prime minister has the attributes needed to head the European Union’s executive arm.

“I have worked a lot with Jean-Claude Juncker and I could appreciate enormously the man and the professional,” Trichet told CNBC today. “I can tell you that when you have to coordinate the action of 15 democracies, 16 democracies, in this extraordinarily difficult time, you have to prove some qualities.”

The question of who leads the commission after its mandate expires in October has exposed divisions within the 28-nation bloc. Most leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have sided with the directly elected European Parliament in supporting Juncker, while a group led by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron says Juncker is too strong an advocate of a centralized EU to represent all the bloc’s nations.

Merkel and Cameron were unable to reconcile their differences when they met with the prime ministers of Sweden and the Netherlands yesterday. The EU’s leaders are due to discuss appointments and the bloc’s agenda when they next meet in Brussels on June 26-27.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ian Wishart in Brussels at iwishart@bloomberg.net; Fergal O’Brien in London at fobrien@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Jones Hayden

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