EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was the subject of a formal complaint over his excessive consumption of alcohol — just days before he issued a bizarre threat Thursday against President Donald Trump and the United States.
Juncker suggested Thursday, during a speech before the European People’s Party conference, that he might campaign for the secession of Ohio and Texas from the United States in retaliation for Trump’s support of Brexit.
“Particularly distasteful and out of place was your behavior during the last audience with Pope Francis.”
Just four days before the unusual and ill-informed jab, a Polish politician wrote to Juncker, concerned about an alleged drinking problem.
Polish politician Krystyna Pawłowicz, a deputy to the Sejm, the Polish parliament’s lower chamber, wrote that Juncker’s “obvious alcohol dependency” has become a “problem of the entire European community.”
“In your case, that is in the case of a person holding one of the highest functions in the European Union, that of the President of the European Commission, this gives rise to a number of hazards to European interests, as well as undermines your authority and credibility,” the letter continues.
Pawłowicz pointed to an especially embarrassing episode for Juncker.
“Particularly distasteful and out of place was your behavior during the last audience with Pope Francis to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the European Community,” she started.
“Your demeanor was not only offensive to Pope Francis, but also to the present chiefs of staff and heads of governments, including women, who were certainly too polite to ask you to take a rest,” Pawłowicz wrote, insinuating that Juncker may have been particularly inappropriate around the women present.
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Pawłowicz’s scathing letter went on to assert the EU president’s alleged drinking problem presented a problem of credibility for the entire bloc of nations.
“Your behavior, stemming from your alcohol dependency, is unacceptable in the light of the universal cultural norms. It discredits not only you personally, not only the position you hold in the European Union, but it also discredits the citizens of the EU member states,” she wrote.
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“I kindly ask you to take a moment to reflect upon the recent events and to change the way in which you exercise your duties,” wrote Pawłowicz. “In the current difficult international situation, in the midst of a crisis of the European Union itself, such an important position as the one of the President of the European Commission should be held by a person capable of controlling himself,” she continued.
Criticisms over Juncker’s alleged lack of self control is not actually new — the EU president had earned a reputation as a bit of a boozehound well before he was appointed to his current position.
When Juncker’s name came up for the job in 2014, then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron tried to block his appointment due to tales of his drinking.
“David Cameron is to force a major showdown with German leader Angela Merkel this week after claims that the man set to become the European Union’s most powerful politician is a ‘drunk who has cognac for breakfast,’” the Daily Mail reported in June, 2014.
Only last year, Juncker brought particular shame upon himself and his organization when he was visibly drunk at an EU summit. He was filmed doing what looked like a dance, as well as kissing and slapping various leaders of member states. He also reportedly called Hungarian PM Viktor Orban a dictator at the time.
It is unclear whether Juncker had indulged when he made comments about supporting states’ secession from the United States Thursday.