Criticism of Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, who heads the Euro Group of finance ministers, for lying about a secret meeting of select EU finance ministers to discuss the worsening Greek debt situation, was widespread last week.
Ministers and their spokespeople across the eurozone had first denied or refused to comment on a widely repeated report which appeared in Spiegel Online revealing that a secret meeting of senior EU officials was held in Luxembourg to consider a Greek exit from the euro. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,761201,00.html
The same officials later confirmed that the meeting took place, but that Greece returning to the drachma was never on the table. Juncker it appeared had invited finance ministers from France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, ostensibly under the aegis of the EU members of the G20 (although the UK, a G20 member, was absent), along with Greece, the European Central Bank and Olli Rehn, the EU economy commissioner. Juncker's spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying: "I totally deny that there is a meeting, these reports are totally wrong." Later, Enda Kenny said in the Dail that he had ‘not spoken to Mr. Juncker, who called the meeting in Luxembourg at short notice,’
The development comes after Juncker had admitted the week before during a Brussels conference on economic governance that over the course of his career, despite his Catholic upbringing, he often "had to lie" in order not to feed rumours and that economic policy was too important to be discussed in public. "I am for secret, dark debates," he quipped, according to an EUobserver report. German press agency DAPD has quoted him as saying: "When the going gets tough, you have to lie."
Austrian daily Der Standard attacked Juncker as a "master of lies, while Germany's influential Suddeutsche Zeitung meanwhile complained that no one can believe what EU leaders, but particularly Juncker, say regarding the stability of the eurozone any more. Meanwhile, the Greek prosecutor has contacted German counterparts, requesting assistance in tracking down those responsible at Spiegel Online for the initial report.