Jean-Claude Juncker: 'Incoming' EC chief under scrutiny amid 'cognac for breakfast' claims

The ex-Luxembourg PM, who is expected to be appointed head of the European Commission, has had his lifestyle reportedly become the topic of senior EU talks

Luxembourg’s former Prime Minister is expected to be appointed as the head of the European Commission later today despite concerns over his lifestyle – most notably drinking.

Senior EU diplomats are alleged to have previously raised concerns about Jean-Claude Juncker’s drinking habits at high level meetings, with one source claiming that he “has cognac for breakfast.”

One Brussels official told the Daily Telegraph: “His alcohol consumption has been raised by a number of leaders since the parliament election.”

There have been unsubstantiated stories about him apparently drinking at Eurogroup meetings when he was President, which have led some to raise doubts about his ability to effectively manage the impending much larger role.

Video: Rumours about Juncker's lifestyle

According to the Financial Times, some officials say that while drinking does not affect his judgement, they think it could complicate matters relating to his management, including potentially adding to the disorganisation of late-night sessions.

Mr Juncker’s successor in the top job of Eurogroup President, Jeroen Dijssebloem, publicly aired allegations about his predecessor’s proclivities on a Dutch talkshow in January saying that he is a “heavy smoker and drinker,” who ignored the rules on drinking in meetings.

According to the Luxemburger Wort, Mr Dijsselbloem also said on the chat show that no-one was ever incapacitated at the meetings he attended.

Mr Juncker has previously denied vigorously that he has any problem with alcohol.

It comes as Mr Juncker is about to be ushered into the top tiers of the European Commission, much to the chagrin of David Cameron who is his most public opponent.

As the British Prime Minister arrives at the EU Summit, which will determine the head of the European Commission today, he warned fellow leaders of the “consequences” of voting Mr Juncker in. Francois Hollande, David Cameron and Angela Merkel in Belgium yesterday

Mr Cameron said he was “completely unapologetic” in his opposition to the appointment, believing that the former Luxembourg premier will provide an obstacle to EU reform.

Britain now cuts a lonely figure among its peers after Germany stated that it will fully back Mr Juncker, while both the Netherlands and Sweden changed tack and have also now claimed they will support him.

Mr Cameron says his appointment will not address the growing EU scepticism in the UK or the "pro reform message" that he says voters gave in the European elections last month.

Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stub, however, said today that some people in the UK "really seriously need to wake up and smell the coffee."

Speaking to reporters at the EU Summit, Mr Stub added: "The EU is a very good thing for the UK. Over 50 per cent of the trade of the UK goes to the EU. If that were to be cut off, I think the continent would be cut off, seriously.

"I think David Cameron is a very principled man and he has felt strongly that Juncker is a little bit too federalist for his liking, but I think we can all make amends, we can all solve the situation."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test