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

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The European Fee president mentioned the empty chamber proved that the parliament was “not severe”

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 nearly empty chamber in Strasbourg, he denounced the physique as “ridiculous, completely ridiculous”.

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

Parliament President Antonio Tajani reacted furiously, accusing him of a scarcity of respect.

“You’ll be able to criticise the parliament, but it surely’s not the fee’s job to manage the parliament, it is the parliament that has to manage the fee,” he mentioned.

However the conflict continued. Mr Juncker, who’s in control of 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 crucial acrimonious public rows between high EU officers in recent times.

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

Rows of empty seats – Adam Fleming in Strasbourg writes:

It’s uncommon for the top 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 folks 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 can be held in France tomorrow?

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

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

“There are just a few members within the plenary to manage the fee. You’re ridiculous,” Mr Juncker repeated. In whole, 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 might 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 referred to as for an trustworthy debate on Europe’s values.

The overwhelming majority of the 101,000 migrants getting into Europe in 2017 thus far have crossed the Mediterranean in the direction of Italy. According to latest figures, 2,247 folks have died or are lacking at sea.