Juncker to be handed EU office and chauffeur service after he retires | UK | News


European taxpayers will continue to fund “logistical support” for the outgoing Brussels bureaucrat, including an eighth-floor office in the Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters. Mr Juncker will be able to utilise the EU executive’s car pool to chauffeur him to official events as he continues to represent the bloc. He will be able to hitch a ride in the Commission’s luxury limo service, but only if a car is available and waiting outside the institution’s Brussels office.

While not having a team full-time officials at his beaconing call, he will be able to take advantage of “secretarial support” to help him promote the EU Commission.

A European source said Mr Juncker will have “access to one assistant whenever he is carrying out duties that are connected to his former occupation”

Access to sensitive, need-to-know information will be restricted but a special “hot desk” will help answer a multitude of requests.

Former Brussels bigwigs are often enlisted to give speeches about their time in office at conferences or are rolled out as part of diplomatic missions.

Mr Juncker’s predecessor, Jose Manuel Barroso, was not afforded the same level of assistance and even once took a taxi to meet the king of Belgium.

Mr Barroso said: “I took a taxi because I didn’t want to be late and I got strange looks. In palaces they are not used to people coming in a taxi.”

Eurocrats have since decided to make life easier for their former bosses when representing the EU project in the future.

The Commission is happy to spend taxpayers’ cash on former high-level officials because “current and former Members of the European Commission are the best ambassadors of our Union, in Europe and beyond”, an EU spokeswoman said.

She added: “They have spent many years of their lives working for the European cause and most of them will continue to defend and promote the achievements of the European Union even after the end of their mandate.

“This is even more true for the President of the European Commission, who has been the face of the institution for at least five years and – in the eyes of many – will continue to be so when for example being invited to speak at conferences or participate in public debates about Europe and the role of the Commission.

“In order to enable former Commission Presidents to carry out such representational functions in the appropriate manner, the Commission has decided that former Presidents should have access to certain very limited Commission resources. These include, for example, logistical support and certain other assistance.”

Mr Juncker, 64, will also walk away from his position as the EU’s most senior official with a £144,000 golden goodbye payment.

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In a farewell interview, Mr Juncker revealed that he enjoys the limelight and engaging with tourists but it sometimes backfires.

He claimed that he enjoys the limelight and takes around 200 pictures a day, many of them “selfies” with tourists.

“You know I take an estimated 200 photos a day,” he said. “Yesterday I came out of the hotel where I stayed in Brussels, and suddenly there are 50 Kosovars at the door. And they’d all like to have a selfie.”

“I’ll do it then. Because I say to myself: Europe does not have such a good reputation if I’d be snobbishly approach people, space there, blue lights and stuff.

“How would that work? So I do selfies, I prefer them too, than to let you spit on me. That also happens, but most of the time it gets caught. The bodyguard.”

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