Jean-claude juncker

Watch: Jean-Claude Juncker refuses to renegotiate the backstop

Jean-Claude Juncker’s term as European Commission president may be coming to an end, but it’s clear that the EU leader won’t be hiding his strong opinions about Brexit and the UK negotiating process anytime soon. At a Politico event held this afternoon, Juncker ruled that he would not renegotiate any part of the Withdrawal Agreement with Theresa May’s successor, telling his interviewer, Florian Eder, that: ‘There will be no longer renegotiations as far as… the Withdrawal Agreement is concerned. We can have some clarifications, precisions, additions to the political declaration concerning the future of our relations.’ Asked if that also meant he would not consider time-limiting the backstop, Juncker simply replied:

Barometer | 6 June 2019

Juncker’s perks The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker complained that he doesn’t have an official residence, unlike the ambassadors who frequently entertain him, and has to live in a hotel room. What are the perks of his job? — He receives a salary of €306,655 (£271,000), untaxed in his home country and subject only to a low EU tax. — He gets a residence allowance of €46,000 p.a., equivalent to 15 per cent of his salary. — He is also eligible for a family allowance equivalent to 2 per cent of his salary. The free world Was Donald Trump’s state banquet the most appropriate to boycott? Countries whose leaders have

Jean-Claude drunker

The atmosphere in Brussels has become, of late, reminiscent of the late Brezhnev era. We have a political system run by a bureaucratic apparatus which — just like the former USSR — serves to conceal important evidence. Especially when it comes to the health of its supreme leader, Jean-Claude Juncker. At the Nato summit gala dinner last week, videos emerged showing Juncker unable to climb the few steps leading to the podium. He hesitates at the bottom before being grabbed by the very sturdy Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko. He is then held up during the ceremony. Afterwards Juncker — who is only 63, hardly an old man — staggers and wobbles

Portrait of the week | 26 October 2017

Home  Of perhaps 400 Britons returned from the former territory of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, those who ‘do not justify prosecution’ should be reintegrated, Max Hill, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, told the BBC. Rory Stewart MP, asked about foreigners fighting for the Islamic State in Syria, said that ‘the only way of dealing with them will be, in almost every case, to kill them’. Jared O’Mara MP resigned from the Commons equalities committee after attention was directed to remarks he made online in 2004, such as that Michelle McManus had only won Pop Idol ‘because she was fat’. Theresa May had been ‘anxious, despondent and

No deal is a good deal

So Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker enjoyed a ‘broad and constructive exchange’ during their working dinner in Brussels. Last time the Prime Minister broke bread with the President of the European Commission — at Downing Street six months ago — Juncker dubbed her ‘deluded’ and complained about the food. Despite better mood music, this latest supper summit was hardly positive. European Union negotiators still refuse to discuss trade or end the divisive impasse over citizens’ rights until Britain agrees to pay a stonking ‘divorce bill’ — upwards of £40-£50 billion. All the while, the Article 50 clock is ticking. The prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit has lately loomed into

A court’s contempt

The issue of sovereignty has mysteriously disappeared from the debate over Brexit. Some business-focused commentators even like to assert that in a ‘global, interconnected world’, sovereignty is meaningless. But a court judgment, delivered earlier this month, perfectly illustrates what is at stake. The case is about national security. Specifically, it is about the legality of techniques used to identify and disrupt people intent on unleashing terror: the kind of terror we have seen recently in Manchester, Westminster, Borough Market and Parsons Green. The technique at issue is the bulk collection of communications data (BCD). This data is the ‘who’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘with whom’ of communications, not what was written

A view from Germany

 Frankfurt ‘This is not about punishing Great Britain,’ declared Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s interim foreign secretary, on his recent visit to London. I fell about laughing, because this is precisely what’s going on. It is as obvious to us Germans as it is to the Brits: the EU cannot tolerate the thought of a successful United Kingdom outside the Brussels sphere of influence because, if that were allowed to happen, others might dare to start thinking about leaving the club too. Everything we hear from Brussels flows from this. The EU presents itself as a champion of free trade, especially when its leaders are attacking Donald Trump, yet it does all

The beginning is nigh

Just a few weeks ago, the Conservatives triumphed in the local government elections and Theresa May was hailed as an all-conquering Brexit Boudicca who could do no wrong. Now, after her general election humiliation, an opposite view has taken hold: that the government is a disaster, the country is in an irredeemable mess, Brexit has been derailed and nothing can go right. This is a sign that parliamentary recess is overdue; a great many people are -exhausted and a little emotional. But the facts, for those with an eye to see them, do not give grounds for such pessimism. The Tories have lost their majority and deserved to do so

Twelve months of May

Normally, the first anniversary of a prime minister taking office is the occasion for a lot of opinion polls and assessments. But by going to the country early, Theresa May has pre-empted that. By the time she has been in No. 10 a year, the voters will already have delivered their verdict via the ballot box. Still, it is worth assessing what May has done so far. When she arrived in No. 10, her team had three main priorities. They wanted to complete the modernisation process by making the Tories more appealing to the so-called ‘just about managing’ classes, and to those outside the party’s heartlands. They were determined to shore

Mother Theresa

Tory activists last week were heard to refer to Mrs May as ‘Mummy’. No Corbynista calls their hero ‘Dad’. The human race is guided by myth as much as by logic, and mythology explains people to themselves more vividly than economics. The agony expressed in the liberal intelligent press is understandable. The sensible people who all voted Remain direct much of their fury against the Corbynistas who have taken over the Labour party. Fair enough. Interestingly, however, they attend so closely to what Tony Benn liked to call ‘the ish-oos’ that they ignore the bigger mythological picture. Last summer the country voted — very unwisely according to the sensible 48

Found in translation

Buririggu deshita. Suraibi tōbu Wēbu de gairu to gimburu shite, Nante mimuji na borogōbu, Mōmu rassu autoguraibimashita ne. If this looks familiar, it’s not surprising. This is the first verse of ‘Jabberwocky’ by Lewis Carroll, translated into Japanese by Noriko Watanabe. Ms Watanabe is a translator of children’s books living in Sendai, in the north of Japan, and she is working on a new translation of the two Alice books. I met her in a bar called Come Here. Is translating Lewis Carroll, which is already nonsense, into another language, a near-impossible task? I asked her. ‘No, not at all,’ she said. ‘Actually it’s easy because Japanese is about 15

The art of the deal

If elections were decided on voter enthusiasm rather than on plain numbers, Marine Le Pen would win this weekend’s battle for the French presidency. But it seems likely that Emmanuel Macron’s more numerous but less passionate supporters will prevail — more for dislike of her than admiration of him. It is when he ends up in the Elysée that his problems will start. Can a president without a party command support in the National Assembly? Who will he appoint to his government? How quickly might it unravel? Domestic woes will likely consume Macron, with foreign policy a luxury he might not be able to afford. Reports of his hostility to

Portrait of the week | 4 May 2017

Home Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, told Theresa May after dinner with her on 26 April, ‘I’m leaving Downing Street ten times more sceptical than I was before,’ according to an account in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. At the dinner, also attended by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, and David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, Mrs May was said to have declared that Britain was not legally obliged to pay the EU ‘a penny’; Mr Juncker said ‘the EU is not a golf club’ with a subscription that could be cancelled at any time. ‘Let us make Brexit a success,’ May is said to have remarked, to which

Rod Liddle

Diane’s grey matter and Labour’s sticky votes

I awoke the other morning to hear Diane Abbott’s brains leaking out of her ears and all over the carpet during an interview with LBC’s excellent Nick Ferrari. You will need a mop and a bucket very sharpish, I thought to myself, as she gabbled on, the hole beneath her feet growing larger with every syllable she uttered. Diane has had the brain leakage problem before, many times, and my worry is that following the LBC debacle there is almost nothing left inside her skull at all, just a thin greyish residue resembling a kind of fungi or leaf mould. This would leave her on an intellectual par with Emily

Watch: Jean-Claude Juncker threatens to promote the break-up of the USA

He’s unstable. He’s an irrational hothead who is by some freak a president. And his inability to control his mouth is endangering world peace. I’m talking about Jean-Claude Juncker, of course, who just said that if Donald Trump carried on supporting Brexit, he would ‘promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas, in the United States of America.’ Wow, as they say on Twitter every time Trump says something silly, just wow. Juncker’s defenders, like the Donald’s defenders, will say he should be taken literally but not seriously — he’s just kidding. But at some point the joke goes too far. Here’s what Juncker said in full: ‘Brexit isn’t the end. A lot

No, M Juncker, David Cameron did not “destroy” the United Kingdom.

Jean-Claude Juncker could have been invented by Nigel Farage’s spin doctors. He is sneering one-man advert for Brexit, Frexit and any other kind of EU-exit. As Hugo Rifkind argues in this week’s magazine, he is a caricature of the arrogant Eurocrat: “smug, lazy, unelected and utterly impervious to anything.” He is a notorious boozer, and managed ‘head of state’ by running Luxembourg, which a country with a population about the size of Sheffield. His ascension to President of the European Commission embodied everything that was wrong with the EU, a huge signal that it was time to abandon ship. When Michael Gove was once at a party and asked to make

Juncker is now the hardest Brexiter there is

The best thing about being a Remainer is obviously the dinner parties, where we all sit around being incredibly well-heeled in leafy Islington. Bloody love a good heel, I do. And a leaf. Honestly, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Eddie Izzard and Nick Clegg crack jokes at each other in French, as Lily Allen and Matthew Parris do impressions of old people from Northumberland, while in the background Bob Geldof and Professor Brian Cox duet on the piano. It’s almost literally how I spend almost all of my time. Whereas Leaver dinner parties, so I’m told, are just IDS and a Scotch egg. The worst thing about being a

High life | 17 November 2016

New York   The only thing worse than a sore loser, I suppose, is a sore winner, but thank God we don’t run into too many of those. Thirty years ago, The Spectator and I lost a libel case that cost the then proprietor and yours truly a small fortune. As it turned out, after the plaintiff had gone to that sauna-like place below, everything that I had written was the truth and nothing but. (The hubby of the woman who sued me came clean after her death, but a lot of good that did the Speccie and me.) The sainted editor at the time was Charles Moore, and in

Pericles vs Juncker

The hopelessness of the EU is well demonstrated by the current rhetoric issuing from its inner chambers: that Britain must be punished for the ‘crime’ of leaving it. What sort of message does that send out to the world, let alone other EU members, about the value that the EU places on liberality and freedom? In his funeral speech in 430 BC over those killed in the war against Sparta, Pericles hymned not so much the dead as the city of Athens itself, describing ‘the way of life that enables us to pursue our objectives, and the political institutions and national character that made our great achievements possible’. One of the central themes

Is Jean-Claude Juncker the ‘Sepp Blatter of the EU’?

A friend, himself a Remainer, describes Jean-Claude Juncker to me as ‘the Sepp Blatter of the EU’. It is a brilliant comparison — although I hasten to assure Mr Juncker’s lawyers (and indeed Mr Blatter’s) that I repudiate any suggestion of corruption against either man. It captures that unmerited sense of ownership, that confident unaccountability, those menacing, charmless jokes. It also captures the nature of the two organisations as currently run and reminds us that, precisely because their leaders do not recognise it, they must change. This is an extract from Charles Moore’s Notes. The full article can be found here.