Europe

Luxembourg 3-way coalition ends Juncker reign

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel presented his three-way coalition on Wednesday, marking an official end to the 18-year reign of Jean-Claude Juncker as the longest-standing government leader in the European Union.

Bettel, the Liberal who formed a coalition with the socialists and greens, managed to keep Juncker's Christian Democrats out of power for the first time since the 1970s. In the snap elections in October, the Liberal, Socialist and Green parties won a total of 32 seats. The victory was enough to form a majority coalition in the country's 60-seat, unicameral Parliament, even though Juncker's Christian Democrats remained the biggest party with 23 seats.

Bettel, 40, has said that his coalition will also try to hold down spending while raising Luxembourg's value-added tax. EU President Herman Van Rompuy congratulated Bettel, saying he looked forward to their first meeting at an EU summit next month. But he also paid tribute to Juncker.

"His long European experience has been a real asset for all of us," he said of the former prime minister who also was head of the eurogroup of nations which share the EU's common currency.

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