Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker is not surprised that the EU ended its summit without agreeing on a budget. He discussed the consequences in a DW interview.
Jean-Claude Juncker is the longest serving government head in the European Union. "Penny-pinching" by large, wealthy countries that openly do not want to help Europe's poorer nations "annoys" the experienced negotiating leader. "In the end, I hope good common sense carries through with everyone," he said right after the summit ended.
Deutsche Welle: Mr. Juncker, you seem to be vexed after the consultations. Why in your opinion did the summit fail?
Jean-Claude Juncker: I believe we are making a mistake. And this mistake won the most support in member states and in public opinion. The mistake is that we are making a distinction between donor and recipient countries. I strictly hold to the view that all 27 member states are actually recipient counties. Being members of the European Union does us all good. I do not think this almost artificial distinction between donor and recipient countries is any longer in keeping with the 21st century.
Then what did you do today? The EU leaders presented their positions to each other - and then?
Yes, it is not unusual for each to appear with their own national perspective, out of their country's corner, pleading for their own budget. That is a part of the exchange of opinions, so each knows what the other would like to get and what each thinks. But experience shows that we cannot see things through in one session. It takes many sessions, and everyone has to promote the story in their national parliaments.
You want to meet for budget consultations in a few weeks. Do you think leaders can really bring their positions closer together within this short amount of time?
It will be up to European Council President [Herman] Van Rompuy to decide the next time we should sit together. I do not think that will already be the case within a few weeks. Rather, I think that will be the case by the end of January or in February.
Cuts are expected in the EU's development funds, that's to say, in the funds earmarked for the poorest countries in the world. What do you think?
I am of the opinion it does us no good to make savings at the expense of the world's poor. That is easy, because they are not sitting here. The 24,000 children who die of hunger every day are not sitting in session. I am against this.
Jean-Claude Juncker is both prime minister of Luxembourg and president of the Euro Group, the 17 countries that use the euro as currency. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has the highest per capita income in the EU and is among the body's net contributors. The small country at the intersection of Belgium, Germany and France is the site of many EU institutions and the European Court of Justice.
It's certainly not a new debate, but the controversial topic has picked up steam again - especially in Germany: Where does political criticism of Israel end, and where does anti-Semitism begin?
Thousands of babies and young girls worldwide undergo genital mutilation every day. Its devastating effects can include infection, incontinence and trauma. Even in Europe, 180,000 children are at risk.
The Netherlands observed a minute of silence to honor Dutch victims on flight MH17, which was apparently shot down over eastern Ukraine last week. Experts say identifying the crash's victims could take weeks.
In Berlin, getting involved in illegal things is like having an affair. You may get caught and the consequences could be terrible, but the danger associated with it makes it all more exciting, says DW's Lavinia Pitu.