Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach has ‘immense confidence’ that Juncker is right man for Brexit process

Leo Varadkar rejected recent criticism of the EU Commission president, insisting he was a ‘very effective’ operator.

Leo Varadkar (left) Jean-Claude Juncker at Government Buildings in Dublin (PA)
Leo Varadkar (left) Jean-Claude Juncker at Government Buildings in Dublin (PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has insisted Jean Claude Juncker is the right man to lead the European Commission through the Brexit process.

Mr Varadkar rejected recent criticism directed at the commission president, stating his “absolute and immense confidence” in his abilities.

Aspects of Mr Juncker’s behaviour have come under scrutiny amid the Brexit negotiations. He ruffled an EU official’s hair upon arriving at a Brussels summit earlier this month and was later involved in a very public dispute with Theresa May, denying her claims that he had referred to her as nebulous.

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Theresa May had accused Mr Juncker of calling her “nebulous” (ec.europa.eu/PA)

Mr Varadkar defended the politician’s record, hailing him as a “very good supporter of Ireland”.

“I have absolute and immense confidence in Jean Claude Juncker who has been a very effective EU Commission president over the last couple of years, was a long-serving prime minister of Luxembourg and has been a very good colleague of mine and a very good supporter of Ireland,” he said.

“I have never once seen him anything other than sober and he has sciatica and walks in a particular way and some elements of the media make that out to be related to alcohol. It’s not. I know it’s not. And secondly, I was there, he didn’t call Prime Minister May nebulous.

“I think he was referring to some of the requests or demands from the UK but that wasn’t a remark about her personally. Not at all.

“Probably ill-advised to fluff other people’s hair though. I wouldn’t do that myself.”

PA

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