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
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
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: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links