Jean-Claude Juncker sparred with Nigel Farage on Tuesday morning (28 June), calling the UKIP leader a liar and insisting he not return to the European Parliament.
“I’m surprised that you are here. You were fighting for the exit. The British people voted for the exit. Why are you here?” Juncker said, switching from French to English to address a group of UKIP MEPs.
Juncker and the other EU commissioners joined a crunch session of Parliament this morning.
In a show of how the UK’s vote to leave the EU has caused political tumult in Brussels, the embattled European Commission president defensively batted away rumours that he would resign. Rumours that Juncker would step down intensified following UK voters’ decision to leave the EU last Thursday (23 June).
“I’m not tired. I’m not sick, as newspapers write in Germany. Apparently doctors are becoming journalists now. I am what I am,” Juncker said.
“A faceless bureaucrat, some kind of robot, that’s the way I’m portrayed in the United Kingdom.”
Farage was one of the most public figures in the campaign for the UK to leave the EU.
“When I came here 17 years ago and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the EU, you all laughed at me. I have to say you’re not laughing now, are you?” the UKIP leader gloated.
Farage offered biting criticism of his fellow MEPs.
“Virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives or worked in business or worked in trade or indeed ever created a job,” he yelled over the sound of restless MEPs booing him.
Farage’s own voting record bottoms out at 40.73% of all roll call votes, according to the website Vote Watch EU. On average, other MEPs participate in more than double that amount of votes.
“You lied, you didn’t tell the truth, you fabricated reality,” Juncker said.
The Commission president told Farage he should stay out of the Parliament.
“I think we share a similar sense of humour. You used to have a sense of humour, I still do. But I find it regrettable we won’t be able to debate again because you won’t be coming back,” Juncker said.
Juncker also said he had forbid all EU officials from starting any talks how the UK will leave the EU.
“We can’t have secret attempts to take the British side and have it become informal secret negotiations,” Juncker insisted.