Minister of State
Minister for the Treasury
Minister for Religious Affairs
Jean-Claude Juncker was born on 9 December 1954 in Redange-sur-Attert.
Education and qualifications
Following secondary school studies at the boarding school in Clairefontaine (Belgium), Jean-Claude Juncker enrolled in the Law Faculty of the University of Strasbourg, where he was awarded a master’s degree in law in 1979.
In February 1980, he took his oath as a barrister, but as a result of his early political involvement and entrance into the government, he never actually practised his chosen profession.
When a government post became available in December 1982, Jacques Santer, the Minister of Finance at the time, encouraged Prime Minister Pierre Werner to appoint the young Jean-Claude Juncker as Secretary of State for Labour and Social Security, two positions in line with his preferred political interests.
In June 1984, Jean-Claude Juncker, standing for the Christian Social Party (CSV), was elected to Parliament for the first time. He was appointed Minister of Labour, Minister Delegate for the Budget in the first government led by Jacques Santer.
In 1985, Luxembourg presided over the Council of the European Communities and Jean-Claude Juncker chaired the Social Affairs Council and the Budget Council. This period also marked the beginning of his resolutely pro-European commitment inspired by his profound conviction that European integration was the sole key for the guarantee of lasting peace throughout Europe.
Following the legislative elections of June 1989, Jean-Claude Juncker was appointed Minister of Finance, Minister of Labour, thus entering a new chapter of his political career.
In 1991, as incumbent president of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council, Jean-Claude Juncker became one of the principal architects of the Maastricht Treaty, in particular of the section on the economic and monetary union of which he drafted large parts himself. In May of the same year, during an informal meeting of the Ministers of Finance of the twelve member states in Luxembourg, economic and monetary union negotiations reached fruition thanks to Jean-Claude Juncker’s intervention, which consisted in creating the opting out principle for the United Kingdom. In February 1992, he was one of the signatories of the Maastricht Treaty.
In June 1994, Jean-Claude Juncker was re-elected to Parliament and retained his Minister of Finance, Minister of Labour portfolios. On 20 January 1995, following the nomination of Prime Minister Jacques Santer as president of the European Commission by the European Council and the subsequent approval of this appointment by the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker was appointed Prime Minister, Minister of State. As head of the government, he continued to fulfil his functions as Minister of Finance, Minister of Labour and Employment.
In his position as head of government, Jean-Claude Juncker broke new ground by playing a more prominent part in promoting Luxembourg abroad. He has represented Luxembourg on numerous official and work-related visits throughout the world, often accompanied by an important economic delegation. At his instigation, political and economic ties with numerous countries were strengthened. Particular importance was assigned to development cooperation with Luxembourg’s target countries. From 2001, with expenditures totalling 0.8% of its GDP, Luxembourg has ranked among the top five most involved countries in terms of development cooperation.
In December 1996, as a result of his successful and delicate mediating between the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the French President Jacques Chirac on the subject of the Stability Pact accompanying the economic and monetary union, the international press dubbed Jean-Claude Juncker "the hero of Dublin".
Luxembourg’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the second half of 1997 provided Jean-Claude Juncker with the opportunity to highlight his ambitions for a more social Europe. In November 1997, the Extraordinary European Council on Employment saw the creation of the "Luxembourg Process", requiring member states to submit an annual action plan promoting employment and to meet quantified and verifiable criteria in the context of job creation and the fight against unemployment.
One month later, at the European Council of Luxembourg, the European Union opened its doors to the enlargement to the East. The same summit was witness to the creation of Euro 11, the informal group of Ministers of Finance involved in the economic and monetary union, since renamed Eurogroup.
Following the legislative elections of June 1999, Jean-Claude Juncker was appointed Prime Minister, Minister of State of a government composed of members of the CSV and the Democratic Party (DP), thus putting an end to 15 years of governmental coalition between the CSV and the Luxembourg Socialist Workers’ Party (LSAP). Jean-Claude Juncker retained his Finance portfolio.
On 31 July 2004, Jean-Claude Juncker was reappointed Prime Minister, Minister of State, Minister of Finance in the CSV-LSAP coalition government as a result of the legislative elections of 13 June 2004, in which he obtained record personal votes.
From 2005 to 2013, Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker was the first permanent president of the Eurogroup, which brings together the Ministers of Finance of the member states of the euro area. On 21 January 2013, he stepped down from the helm of the euro area on his own initiative.
During the first six months of 2005, Luxembourg’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union allowed Jean-Claude Juncker to secure an agreement at the March 2005 European Council on a reform of the Stability and Growth Pact, an agreement that did not affect the pact’s fundamental principles. During this summit, Jean-Claude Juncker also succeeded in reviving the Lisbon Strategy, in a bid to reaffirm its social and environmental dimensions.
Upon the return of the CSV-LSAP government coalition as a result of the legislative elections of 7 June 2009, Jean-Claude Juncker was once again appointed Prime Minister, Minister of State, as well as Minister for the Treasury on 23 July 2009. Since the cabinet reshuffle of 30 April 2013, Jean-Claude Juncker also holds the Religious Affairs portfolio.
Other political posts
A member of the CSV since 1974, Jean-Claude Juncker was parliamentary secretary of the group from October 1979 to December 1982.
Between January 1990 and February 1995, he was also appointed chairman of the CSV.
After his term as governor of the World Bank from 1989 to 1995, Jean-Claude Juncker assumed the role of governor of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and that of governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Awards and distinctions
A number of international universities have bestowed upon Jean-Claude Juncker the title of doctor honoris causa: the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Münster (6 July 2001), the University of Bucharest (13 April 2003), the Democritus University of Thrace (27 January 2004), the University Robert Schuman of Strasbourg (25 October 2007), the University of Pittsburgh (10 April 2008), the Innsbruck Medical University (15 November 2010) and the Faculty of Law of the University of Athens (8 February 2011).
Jean-Claude Juncker has also been the recipient of several international decorations: he was awarded the insignia of Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour by the president of the French Republic on 5 February 2002 and was made an honorary citizen of the city of Trier ("Ehrenbürger der Stadt Trier") on 27 May 2003.
In recognition of his commitment to the European cause, Jean-Claude Juncker has been presented with a number of important international political awards, among them the prestigious Charlemagne Prize of Aachen in 2006.
On 12 March 2007, Jean-Claude Juncker was admitted as a foreign associate member to the Academy of Ethics and Political Science of the Institute of France, filling the chair left vacant by the death of Léopold Sédar Senghor.
Since 20 December 2007, Jean-Claude Juncker has been honorary member of the Institut grand-ducal, Ethics and Political Section.
On 16 February 2009, the Prime Minister was made honorary senator of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.