Juncker Complains That He Does Not Have a Private Plane or Stately Home

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker rings the bell as he opens the college of commissioners at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaer
JOE MARKHAM

Jean-Claude Juncker has complained that he does not have a stately home or an aeroplane available to him as president of the European Commission.

Mr Juncker, who earns twice the salary of the British prime minister, spoke in a wide-ranging interview with German tabloid Bild in which he voiced his frustration at not having the same types of privileges as heads of state such as the U.S. President.

The Eurocrat complained that “the Commission President doesn’t have a residence. I have been living in a hotel apartment measuring 50 square metres for 3,250 euros [/£2,880/ $3,660 per month].

“[President of the European Council] Donald Tusk doesn’t have a residence either, by the way.”

Juncker quickly added that the NATO secretary-general did, by contrast, has a “stately home” to live in, and that “all the ambassadors have residences, too – I know many of them”.

The European Commission president, who finishes his five-year term in November, complained that “The biggest problem was that I couldn’t invite anyone home. I can’t talk to official visitors sitting on my bed!

“On the other hand, when I flew to visit them by commercial airliner, I was always invited to their private residences.”

On the matter of not having his own private jet, the Eurocrat recalled: “When I was talking to Donald Trump, I was constantly looking at my watch so that I wouldn’t miss my flight home. Trump kept saying, ‘Your ‘plane can wait!’ He didn’t realise that I didn’t have my own aeroplane.”

It is not the first time Mr Juncker has complained about not having his own private jet. In 2014 during his campaign to become Commission president he said: “The Americans have Air Force One. I don’t. But I am still campaigning all over Europe!”

Mr Juncker used private jets for almost half of his official visits last year, according to The Times, with trips costing up to £32,000 each. His comments come despite the fact that the EU itself bans so-called ‘air taxis’ unless there is no other travel options available.

In 2009, German Chancellor Angela Merkel blocked Mr Juncker’s appointment as president of the European Council on the basis that he had demanded a palatial residence and personal aeroplane.

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