The European Commission has been forced to deny rumours that its president, Jean-Claude Juncker, is unwell and often absent from work.
In a recent interview with Politico published Monday (April 20), Juncker admitted that his health is “very, very bad” but commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas, talking to reporters on Tuesday (April 21), stressed that it is a short-term condition due to kidney stones.
“President Juncker is in perfect health. He has this issue of kidney stones for which he received outpatient care. He works five days a week, he has seen 64 heads of state here in Berlaymont…he has been to all parliament plenaries, he has seen and done everything that is expected from a European Commission president.”
Juncker’s ill health first came to light in March when he was forced to cancel a trip to Ukraine in order to receive treatment to break down the calcium deposits.
The Wall St Journal, meanwhile, reports that since taking office in November, Juncker has only spent six weeks out of 24 in Brussels.
Juncker says he works five days a week in the European capital and goes home for weekends. But a new office being fitted out in his native Luxembourg and rumours that he is delegating work to colleagues, has led to speculation that he will spend more time at home.
Juncker was in Vienna on Tuesday (April 21) for a meeting with the Austrian Chancellor.