European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in EP on 4 July

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The European Fee president stated the empty chamber proved that the parliament was “not critical”

European Fee President Jean-Claude Juncker has launched a bitter assault on members of the European Parliament for failing to point out up.

Standing up in virtually empty chamber in Strasbourg, he denounced the physique as “ridiculous, completely ridiculous”.

Estimating the variety of MEPs at round 30, he stated it proved that the parliament was “not critical”.

Parliament President Antonio Tajani reacted furiously, accusing him of an absence of respect.

“You’ll be able to criticise the parliament, however it’s not the fee’s job to regulate the parliament, it is the parliament that has to regulate the fee,” he stated.

However the conflict continued. Mr Juncker, who’s answerable for the EU’s govt physique, angrily rebuked MEPs for failing to attend the session reviewing the six-month presidency of Malta, the bloc’s smallest member state.

It was one of the acrimonious public rows between prime EU officers in recent times.

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The overwhelming majority of MEPs have been absent from the morning debate

Rows of empty seats – Adam Fleming in Strasbourg writes:

It’s uncommon for the pinnacle of 1 EU establishment to take such a public swipe on the legitimacy of one other.

However it’s true that Strasbourg feels very empty for the ultimate session of the European Parliament earlier than the summer season holidays. I counted fewer than 100 individuals within the chamber this morning – and that included the officers accompanying Mr Juncker and the Maltese prime minister.

“Individuals cannot be bothered to show up,” a British MEP advised me. “Some have began their seven weeks of paid vacation already,” he added.

Or maybe it’s the truth that some debates on this session have been cancelled in order that politicians can attend the funeral of Simone Veil – a former president of the parliament – which will likely be held in France tomorrow?

The parliamentary authorities will likely be sad to have been criticised so publicly by such a high-profile determine as Mr Juncker.

Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, regarded on with a broad grin because the argument unfolded. The controversy was because of focus totally on the EU’s wrestle to relocate 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece.

“There are only some members within the plenary to regulate the fee. You might be ridiculous,” Mr Juncker repeated. In complete, the parliament has 751 deputies.

Ignoring an extra objection by the parliament president to his alternative of language, Mr Juncker advised the few MEPs within the chamber: “I’ll by no means once more attend a gathering of this sort”.

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Antonio Tajani (R) took over as president of the parliament in January

Mr Juncker complained that if Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel or French President Emmanuel Macron had been within the chamber, it could have been full.

The spat overshadowed Mr Muscat’s personal evaluation of the EU’s response to the migrant disaster.

Describing the state of affairs as a “fiasco”, the Maltese chief known as for an trustworthy debate on Europe’s values.

The overwhelming majority of the 101,000 migrants coming into Europe in 2017 to this point have crossed the Mediterranean in the direction of Italy. According to latest figures, 2,247 individuals have died or are lacking at sea.