Junker: The Good, The Bad and The Fun

Inspired by Junker writing the Politico newsletter on his last day in office. He was being a bit retrospective so we thought it would be a good opportunity to fawn over/shit on him

The Good

Junker was elected with the Spitzenkandidaten - where he was the EPP's lead candidate. Which compared to Mr Goldman Sachs (Barroso) was an improvement.

Also look at the shit load of infographics they produced to show how cool they were:

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/key\_figures\_for\_the\_eu\_2014-2019\_en.pdf?utm\_source=POLITICO.EU&utm\_campaign=56ef0a5c3b-EMAIL\_CAMPAIGN\_2019\_11\_29\_05\_42&utm\_medium=email&utm\_term=0\_10959edeb5-56ef0a5c3b-190266981 )

Some of that is fine/accurate... but certainly not all. Let's focus on the actual good stuff:

  • Media accessibility: Junker did seem to actually want to engage with the public and make the EU more accessible. Come up a lot in the "fun section" but he made a lot of public appearances where he really tried to sell the EU as a good thing. The Euronews livestream thing was actually very watchable and earnest

  • He did a reasonable job of selling the EU... while there are a lot of factors including the B word, it's notable that anti-EU sentiment from far right parties has lessened. Partly because it's been semi-not terrible under Junker. Mild independence from the national level government seems to have done it favours (they quote that Eurobarometer shows trust in the EU is generally higher than for national govs with some notable exceptions - UK, France, Greece)

The Fun

That handwritten tweet video he did

https://twitter.com/QuickTake/status/1185073056148000768?s=20 )The time he yelled at Channel 4

The little black book of enemies
https://www.politico.eu/article/jean-claude-juncker-keeps-little-black-book-of-enemies/ )

That time he called Orban a dictator

That time he held Tsipras' hand while walking out of the room

That other time he held Orban's hand while walking out of the room

All the slapping he did

That hair thing he did https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSCarR0UjDQ )

The League of Arab States - EU summit where he took a phone call on stage, then made a "my wife" joke.

The other time he did that when at a photoshoot with Robert Fico but then said it was his wife first, then that it was Merkel second.

That time he stopped Sky News from having an interview with him at a summit by constantly interrupting them about how great Sky News is and that it's always on in his house.

The Bad

In January 2017, leaked diplomatic cables show Juncker, as Luxembourg's prime minister from 1995 until the end of 2013, blocked EU efforts to fight tax avoidance by multinational corporations. Luxembourg agreed to multinational businesses on an individualised deal basis, often at an effective rate of less than 1%

Uphold Marxist-Leninist-Junckerist thought

European Forum Alpbach in Austria. During his speech, Juncker, a supporter of Angela Merkel's open door response to the European migrant crisis, made news by telling the audience that **"borders are the worst invention ever made by politicians"**

Upon hearing the news of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's death in December 2016, Juncker said, **"With the death of Fidel Castro, the world has lost a man who was a hero for many."**

On 4 May 2018, Juncker attended and spoke at an event commemorating Karl Marx's 200th birthday.

The Medium

Junker was, for the EU establishment, to the left on migration:

The Fun

From the politico newsletter:

"As everyone is debating the security of 5G networks, I am happy to rely on my trusty Nokia (not quite a 3310 but almost) to protect me from prying ears. That said, I do distinctly remember hanging up the phone after a lengthy conversation with my dear friend Bill Clinton, only to receive a phone call from Jacques Chirac a few moments later. Without a moment of pretense, Jacques asked me: “But why did you say that like that to Clinton, Jean-Claude?” Thanks for listening in, mon ami. Turns out, it’s not always the U.S. listening in on your phone calls."

The Bad

These are ones he acknowledges:

  • Accession: promises were made, a country changed its name and Macron changed his mind

  • Cyprus and the relationship with Turkey in general

The Fun

Junker is an alcoholic if you believe his detractors.

and by detractors I mean the British press. People may remember that David Cameron was very against Junker. His loss was part of the long saga of complaining for reforms and special treatment. Didn't do him any good inside his party for that whole leaving referendum thing

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/27/david-cameron-loses-jean-claude-juncker-vote-eu )

Maybe Junker is just a fun guy who knows how to party, David? Ever consider that? Why else would he have an Honorary Doctorate of the Miami University?

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-eu-juncker-schaeuble-idUKKBN0F647320140701 )

.. but also maybe not, there was also the "sciatica" thing at the Nato summit

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-44812352

The )Bad

That time he installed his chief of staff Martin Selmayer as secretary-general of the commission, an enormous promotion. It gave a lot of weight to conspiracy theories that implied he was really pulling the strings all along

https://www.politico.eu/article/martin-selmayr-monster-of-the-berlaymont-or-committed-european/