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EU's Juncker to stand down as Commission president at end of term

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has told German media he will not seek a second term. The ex-Luxembourg prime minister has spoken frankly about the state of the bloc following Brexit.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker revealed Saturday that he will not run for a second term.

Speaking to German public radio Deutschlandfunk in an interview to be aired on Sunday, Juncker said he would "not stand again" to head the EU's executive branch. His current term expires in November 2019.

Looking back at the last 2014 election, Juncker said the process made him "fall in love with Europe again, as I rediscovered the EU's richness of colors."

"But there will be no such second election," Juncker said, "as I will not be competing again."

Watch video 02:21

Who is Jean-Claude Juncker?

The former prime minister and finance minister of Luxembourg is widely considered one of the most experienced EU politicians. During his tenure as Luxembourg PM, Juncker also headed the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers from 2005 to 2013. He was one of the chief negotiators for Greece's multibillion-euro aid packages when the country was facing imminent bankruptcy.

Concerns over EU unity

In the same interview, Juncker also voiced doubts over whether the EU's remaining 27 members would be able to maintain a united front during the Brexit negotiations, as well as when Britain leaves the bloc.

"The other EU 27 don't know it yet, but the Brits know very well how they can tackle this," Juncker told the broadcaster. "They could promise country A this, country B that and country C something else and the end game is that there is not a united European front."

The president of the European Commission also ruled out Britain negotiating its own trade deals as long as it was a member of the EU.

dm/jlw (AFP, Reuters)

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