Juncker to EP: you're ridiculous

After EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker thanked the few dozen of the 700-plus legislators in the huge atrium for showing up, he insisted that the "parliament is not serious" since lawmakers failed to attend the day's keynote debate in larger numbers.

"You may criticize the Parliament, yes, but it is not the Commission which controls the Parliament, it should be the Parliament which controls the Commission", Tajani reminded Juncker.

His outburst sparked a heated exchange with the President of the Parliament, Antonio Tajani, who ordered him to be more "respectful".

Standing up in nearly empty chamber in Strasbourg, Juncker denounced the legislative body as "ridiculous, totally ridiculous".

A full house at the European Parliament would have seen 751 MEPs in attendance.

The outburst came as only a small number of Members of the European Parliament (MEP) attended a session which was meant to review the six-months Malta spent as EU presidency chair.

Mr Juncker said Malta, the EU's smallest country that had just completed a stint running the bloc's presidency, deserved better. "We are not ridiculous", Tajani angrily retorted.

He was interrupted by Tajani, who sharply told him to show a more respectful attitude, saying: "You may criticise the parliament, yes, but the commission does not control the parliament, it is parliament who should control the commission".

Juncker said he would never again take part in this kind of meeting in the European Parliament.

"Mr President, I ask you, please use different language".

'The Commission is under the control of the parliament but the Parliament has to respect even the presidencies of smaller countries, which is what the Parliament is not doing'.

But when he took the floor, around 9.15 in the morning, the room was nearly empty. "It is the parliament that should be controlling the Commission".

"I wanted to pay tribute to the Maltese government and to the prime minister of Malta [Joseph Muscat] for what [overseeing Malta's six-month-long presidency of the EU]", Juncker added.

  • Joey Payne