Jean-Claude Juncker fumes in rare statement about ‘drinking problem’ claims

The European Commission President bemoaned “stupid journalists” continuing to question the claim. The 64-year-old suffers from sciatica, which he says was the result of a car crash that left him in a coma for three weeks in 1989. But his health condition prompted reports of alcoholism, most notably at last year’s Nato summit where he was spotted unsteady on his feet and helped to walk by numerous EU leaders. Juncker says UK have NO IDEA what no deal Brexit means

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Mr Juncker was quizzed about the moment during an interview with Nordic new agencies ahead of this week’s European elections.

On the allegations, he blasted: “I no longer answer these questions.

“I’ve said it many times that I do not have a problem with alcohol.

“Stupid journalists always ask the same question, even though this question has already been answered.” Mr Juncker also denied being ashamed of controversial moments during his five-year rule over the bloc’s, such as ruffling the hair of the EU’s female deputy head of protocol Pernilla Sjolin, or branding Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban a “dictator”.

The former Luxembourgish prime minister is expected to stand down from the EU’s top role at the end of October.

Mr Juncker believes he is leaving the bloc in a good position despite his time in charge marred by Brexit, a migration crisis and the aftermath from the economic crisis.

He claims that the Commission has adopted 348 proposals during his time in the top job. He added: “Is this a sign of a crisis or of the European Union acting as it should?”

In separate interviews, Mr Juncker has insisted his greatest regret as Commission President was not to join the Remain campaign ahead of the Brexit referendum.

He told Austrian newspaper Der Standard: “How did Brexit happen? I read time and again that the commission and the union were to blame for this plight.

“The truth is, for over 40 years people in the UK have been told that they are in the EU, but only for economic reasons and that the rest, the union based on values, is of no interest, so it should come as no surprise that people in the UK voted the way they did.

“However, I see it as a barely comprehensible error on my part to abide by UK wishes and abstain from that Brexit campaign. So many lies were told, and so many of the consequences resulting from a ‘no’ were misrepresented, that we, as the commission, should have spoken out.

“In hindsight, failing to rebut the claim that the UK sent £350m per week to Brussels without drawing any benefit was a mistake.”

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