Juncker is “heavy smoker and drinker,” says Dijsselbloem

Jeroen Dijsselbloem (l.) with Jean-Claude Juncker
Jeroen Dijsselbloem (l.) with Jean-Claude Juncker
Photo: AFP

(CS/vb) Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijssebloem appears to be holding something of a grudge against his predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker, calling the former Luxembourg PM a “heavy smoker and drinker” on a Dutch talkshow.

On the programme “Knevel & Van den Brink” – broadcast on Monday evening – Dijsselbloem initially avoided talking about Juncker.

However, when asked if smoking and drinking are allowed at Eurogroup meetings, Dijsselbloem commented that while this has always been forbidden “the former chairman” did not stick to the rules.

Dijsselbloem went on to say that Juncker is a “heavy smoker and drinker.”

When asked if a politician had ever been drunk during negotiations, Dijsselbloem added that no-one was ever incapacitated at the meetings he has so far attended.

In the Netherlands Dijsselbloem's comments have sparked some interest, with newspaper “De Telegraaf” speculating that the Eurogroup president is taking revenge for Juncker's involvement in the Cyprus bail-out, which came after the Dutch finance minister had taken the chairmanship of the Eurogroup.

The comments also come at a time when Juncker is openly voicing his interest in pursuing a career in Brussels, as he recently said in an interview with radio RTL in Luxembourg that he is ready to accept a nomination to become the next European Commission president if it is offered to him.

Juncker himself on Wednesday said at a New Year's reception at the Chamber of Deputies that he does not have an alcohol problem, while declining further comment on Dijsselbloem's statements.

Watch the talkshow programme in Dutch here and see an analysis by "De Telegraaf" here.