The European Commission president has said he keeps a black book of notes on anyone who has betrayed him, as well as denying kissing UKIP leader Nigel Farage after the Brexit vote. Jean-Claude Juncker calls the sinister little book “little Maurice”, he told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir. He claimed that “I’ve never taken revenge”, but added, “I take my precautions”.
“I am not rancorous but I have a good memory,” he said, explaining how he used the book against his enemies when he was prime minister of Luxembourg.
He would tell people attacking him, “Be careful Little Maurice is waiting for you”. “It had a dissuasive effect,” he added.
Last week it was reported that Mr. Juncker had appointed a hard-line, anti-British federalist to lead the talks on Brexit. It is feared that Frenchman Gaullist Michel Barnier will try to impose a punitive a settlement on the UK to dissuade other nations from retaking their national sovereignty.
“Michel Barnier is a good guy,” Mr. Juncker said, “The British don’t like him but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like the British.”
He also insisted he would be staying on in his position after Brexit, despite standing accused of pushing the UK towards the exit with his federalist drive and refusal to substantially renegotiate Britain’s membership deal with Prime Minister Cameron.
“For every call for my resignation, there is an underlying reason,” Mr. Juncker said, “but none of them have impressed me enough to destabilise me. I am stable!”
When asked about how the EU should react to Brexit, he claimed ever more integration was the answer.
“That’s why I am sad about Brexit because I must spend two or three years on deconstruction in place of construction. Finding the right balance between the two is difficult.”
Mr. Juncker then praised his nemesis Nigel Farage – the man most responsible for forcing former Prime Minister David Cameron to call the referendum.
“I respect the man. He has a good sense of humour and is well-read,” Mr. Juncker said before denying he had kissed Farage at the European Parliament debate following the Brexit vote.
“That day, after Brexit, I told him ‘I am stunned you are still here’ and I told him something in his ear that was not a compliment. The photos gave the impression that I had kissed him,” he said.
“Was I to make a big deal out of it and say ‘I was whispering in his ear’ or just leave it? At my age, one leaves it.”