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European Parliament is 'totally ridiculous', says Juncker

04 July 2017

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker lashed out against the "very ridiculous" European Parliament, in a debate that only a handful of MEPs attended on Tuesday morning (4 July).

Juncker, who vowed to never "attend a meeting of this kind again", claimed that the chamber would be "full" if German Chancellor Angela Merkel or French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the MEPs.

"The money saved by the centralisation of the European Parliament operations in Brussels would be sufficient to cover nearly entirely the annual budget of a university such as Paris Sorbonne, which has more than 20,000 students and 1,300 professors and researchers", the pair wrote in the wake of the Brexit vote in August 2016.

This often means MEPs do not turn up to morning debates and don't have to in order to claim their daily amount of £268 (€306), which comes from the bloc's coffers made up of contributions from its member states. The fact that there are only 30 MEPs present in this debate illustrates plainly that the European Parliament is not serious. "You are ridiculous", Juncker repeated.

Mr Juncker and Joseph Muscat, the prime minister of Malta, were speaking in the parliament. Juncker was the prime minister of Luxembourg for 18 years, a country of just over 550,000 inhabitants.

The extraordinary broadside sparked a heated exchange with Antonio Tajani, the President of the EU Parliament.

He said: 'I would like to welcome those that have actually taken the trouble to turn out this morning.

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While Muscat witnessed the angry exchange between the two European Union institution leaders with a smile, both Juncker and Tajani were applauded by some of the MEPs who were in the room.

But Mr Tajani angrily interrupts him again and says: 'Mr President, I will ask you please to change your language.

Tajani interrupted from the podium: "You can criticise the parliament but it is not the Commission which controls parliament".

"The Commission is subject to the control of the Parliament, but the Parliament must respect the presidency, even if it is held by the smaller countries, and this does not happen. We are not ridiculous", Tajani said.

"If Mr Muscat had been Mrs Merkel it would be hard to imagine - or if Mr Macron, more unimaginable".

"There are only few members to control the commission".

European Parliament is 'totally ridiculous', says Juncker