Posted on Nov 06, 2019
"I've had Brexit enough in my life", outgoing European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has told the BBC.
Challenging Boris Johnson's assertion that a brand-new comprehensive post-Brexit EU-UK trade deal could then be negotiated in a year or less, himself a former prime minister of Luxembourg, said "these things take time. Just look at the free trade deal the EU negotiated with Canada. That took seven years."
But then, of course, the EU is never in a hurry when it comes to closing a deal.The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), launched in 2013 after years of pre-launch speculation and dubious prediction, simply never happened. Now it is being dusted off again so that Juncker's successors and countless Eurocrats can build lucrative careers around even more inconclusive "negotiations".
TTIP is making Brexit look like a rush job.
Juncker - known widely in Brussels as Jean-Claude Drunker - will be fondly remembered for his apparently alcohol fuelled antics: slapping fellow politicians around the face whilst on stage, and "misbehaving" somewhat following an audience with the Pope are amongst his most popular routines.
But behind this facade, lies scandal and intrigue: shadowy deals with big business. During his time as prime minister of the tax haven, he also held the roles of Minister for Finances (1989-2009) and Minister for the Treasury (2009-2013).
In 2017 it was revealed that Juncker blocked EU efforts to fight tax avoidance by major multinational corporations. During Juncker's time at the helm of the European Commission, the EU executive ruled that certain tax breaks qualified as illegal state aid, saddling Luxembourg with a €120 million fine. The fact that this infringement occurred on Juncker's watch didn't seem to trouble anybody, least of all Juncker himself.
Juncker will not miss his €32k per month - as a former Commission president he will be well looked after for the rest of his life by the increasingly hard pressed taxpayer.
Drink up, Jean-Claude, and enjoy your retirement!
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