Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Brussels plays down Juncker's drink problem, claims European Union boss suffered sciatica attack

Brussels plays down Juncker's drink problem, claims European Union boss suffered sciatica attack

The EU has denied "insulting" suggestions that European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was drunk at this week's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, saying he was suffering from sciatica.

Some politicians rushed to help, with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, as well as Portugal's Antonio Costa propping up the troubled 63-year-old official as he went down the stairs.

Juncker, who is travelling to the USA at the end of July, has said he suffers from sciatica, affecting his movements.

"The president has himself publicly stated that this sciatica affects his ability to walk".

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, told Dutch TV that he was not aware that Juncker had "serious health problems" but knew that he "had a back problem for a while".

"That was unfortunately the case Wednesday night".

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Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs from the hips to the feet, is irritated.

'He is taking medication and feels better'.

Trump, who is set to host European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Washington this month, repeated his line that the EU was treating the United States unfairly on trade, shutting out USA farmers.

Juncker has previously blamed the unsteadiness on sciatica, which can cause numbness or weakness of the legs.

'I think it's more than tasteless that some press tried to make insulting headlines by exploiting president Juncker's pain.

The spokesman added that Juncker had a "full programme" at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the commission on Thursday, and will stick to a "very demanding agenda" next week including a trip to China and Japan. In 2015, he was filmed kissing European Union leaders on the head and slapping them on the stomach, chest and even the face.

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