June 8, 2015
The Riga Eastern Partnership summit last month will probably not go down in history for its final declaration, adopted to widespread indifference.
Chances are it will be best remembered for the jovial behaviour of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Juncker shot to superstardom in France when Le Petit Journal, a comedy show, compiled footage of him welcoming EU leaders with friendly slaps, kisses, and clowning.
Who can forget when joker Juncker greeted Hungary’s authoritarian leader Viktor Orban with a cheery “Hello dictator!” before giving him a playful cuff round the chops?
Almost as memorable was when the former leader of Luxembourg planted a smacker right on the bald forehead of Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.
Heard in Europe believes this has actually helped boost the popularity of the Commission, which is so often criticised for lacking a human touch.
But the Commission’s communications team sadly does not agree and has taken drastic measures to prevent future unwelcome footage of Juncker.
Our spies inform us that, after Riga, the Commission’s audiovisual service was swiftly instructed to stop the practice of filming arrivals to the weekly meeting of the College of Commissioners.
Heard in Europe understands the reason is to prevent any of Juncker’s goofy greetings being captured by the cameras.
Sadly, funny footage of the touch-feely president, who famously high-fived British Prime Minister David Cameron and pretended to strangle Greece’s Alexis Tsipras, appear likely to become a thing of the past.
Thank god we managed to catch this eternal moment involving the King of Spain, Juncker, and Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.
Photo courtesy of European Parliament and Flickr. Published under Creative Commons licence.Heard in Europe