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
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were
News
people

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
Sport
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
News
i100
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: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas