Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President
Controversy has surrounded the former Luxembourg prime minister ever since he was appointed in 2014, months after being forced to resign from the Grand Duchy's government (after nearly two decades in power), following "a bizarre scandal involving illegal phone-tapping", says The Daily Telegraph.
Britain opposed his appointment, arguing that Juncker and his federalist views had come to "symbolise" a status quo roundly rejected by European voters. Born into a working-class family in Luxembourg's southern rust belt, Juncker got into centre-right politics straight after school, landed his first ministerial job within ten years, and was a "key architect" of the euro, says the Financial Times.
Anecdotally a heavy drinker (it's "pointless" calling after midday, some say), he is a formidable "EU fixer" with questionable ethics. "When it becomes serious, you have to lie," he said at the height of the eurozone debt crisis.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
Martin Schulz, European Parliament President
Schulz is a native of Aachen and dreamed of becoming a footballer until a knee injury drove him to the bottle. He dried out (he is still teetotal), joined Germany's Social Democrat party and became an MEP in 1994. His career really took off after a "spectacular clash" with Silvio Berlusconi in 2003, in which the Italian PM suggested that Schulz audition for the part of a concentration camp guard.
Donald Tusk,European Council President
A passionate believer in both the free market and European integration, Tusk reportedly named Donald after a British aristocrat with whom his grandmother fell in love has always been renowned for his "deft brokering of consensus". In his seven years as Poland's prime minister, Tusk is credited with building one of Europe's fastest-growing countries and then taking it directly to the EU top table.
Will a Santa Rally provide festive cheer for investors this year?
News Equities often get a seasonal boost during December - will there be a Santa Rally in 2023?
By Marc Shoffman Published
Trading terms: The Santa Rally
Glossary Will the Santa Rally result in its traditional December effect on global markets?
By Dr Matthew Partridge Published