Spy Scandal Sacks Luxembourg Prime Minister

Thursday, 11 Jul 2013 01:20 PM

By Joel Himelfarb

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The European Union's longest-serving government leader, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, announced he would resign Thursday in the wake of a scandal involving the country’s intelligence service.

Juncker, 58, whose Christian Social Party has governed Luxembourg almost continuously since the end of World War II, pledged to step down at a hearing in Parliament Wednesday on a report about the activities of the SREL, the country’s intelligence service, the New York Times reported.

The report, released this month, detailed a host of abuse accusations, including claims that the SREL collected and kept large archives of "political espionage" data on individual citizens acquired during the Cold War. Juncker himself was said to have been secretly taped by the former head of SREL, who wore a special watch fitted with a recording device.

"The list of dysfunctionalities, even of illegalities is long," the report said.

Juncker, who became prime minister in 1995, told Parliament Wednesday that "the intelligence service was not my top priority" and said he hoped Luxembourg would never have a leader who regarded the SREL as his or her top priority.

Although he led a country with just 539,000 residents, Juncker became one of Europe’s most high-profile political figures in recent years due to his previous role as president of the so-called Eurogroup of finance ministers who have been working to contain a major debt crisis and hold together the common currency.

His tenure as Eurogroup president ended in January.


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