Jean-Claude Juncker attends NATO summit with world leaders
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The Luxembourger’s tenure as president of the European Commission was often blighted by accusations that he was intoxicated at official events. But he has hotly contested the allegations, often blaming his wobbly nature on a number of health conditions. Mr Juncker says he suffers from sciatica, which causes chronic leg and back pain, and that sometimes gives him the appearance of struggling to walk.
In an interview with a British newspaper, Mr Juncker said: “I still have the sciatica.
“I still limp. And yet they say the guy is drunk again. I’ve never been drunk in my life.”
During his period as the EU’s top eurocrat, between 2014 and 2019, Brussels was awash with rumours that Mr Juncker was drunk at official events.
But he refused to tackle the allegations head on.
Mr Juncker told the I newspaper: “It hurt me.
“I can’t really give a press conference to say: ‘I’m not an alcoholic.’
“That would have been incompatible with my basic dignity.”
He did, however, dismiss claims he was drunk at a Nato summit in Brussels after he was spotted staggering amongst other world leaders.
He claimed he appeared to be inebriated because of back injuries sustained in a car accident.
Mr Juncker spotted being propped up and helped down steps by colleagues as he mixed with the likes of Donald Trump and Theresa May before a gala dinner in the Belgian capital.
He had to be held up by Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte ahead of the bash before he eventually exited the event in a wheelchair.
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EU officials blamed his drunken appearance on a sciatica attack.
But this wasn’t the first time he faced significant allegations about condition while in the EU’s top job.
During a UN peace conference in 2017, diplomats said he was “very visibly p*****” after being spotted stumbling around at the Geneva gathering.
And at an EU summit in Latvia in 2015, Mr Juncker was spotted by television cameras slapping a host of EU leaders as they arrived.
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Jean-Claude Juncker denies being drunk at NATO summit
He branded Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban a “dictator” before slapping the strongman leader in the face.
Brussels insiders once claimed that EU butlers would often deliver the former Luxembourg premier a glass of gin instead of water.
Mr Juncker’s critics would often use his drunken appearance to question whether he was fit for office.
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