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How to shut down a heckler in parliament: “I am texting the Greek prime minister”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker holds a news conference at the European Council headquarters after a European Union leaders summit in Brussels.
Reuters/Eric Vidal
Talk to the hand.
By Jason Karaian
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is a colorful character. A little too colorful sometimes.

But for a clever quip or turn of phrase, there few are better at thinking on their feet than the former Luxembourg prime minister. (Granted, the eurocrats with whom he usually interacts set a pretty low bar.)

Juncker was at it again today, shutting down a group of hecklers at the European Parliament who were teasing him about tapping at his phone during proceedings. “Je suis en texting,” he said in response to them in French. (I am texting.)

And he wasn’t just texting anyone: “I am texting the Greek prime minister,” he said, adding:

I don’t know whether you get the chance to do that, but that is what I’m doing. I am doing my job. All these ridiculous comments that are being made ought to stop.

On yet another day of crisis talks between Greece and its creditors, Juncker had some other noteworthy comments. “We have to put our little egos, and in my case very large ego, away and we have to deal with the situation we face,” he told the parliament.

Juncker’s other attention-grabbing stunts in recent months include overly familiar greetings of government leaders at EU summits, the highlight being when he welcomed Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán as “Dictator!” and playfully slapped him in the face:

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