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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit exposes Juncker health problems

13 July 2018

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker is recovering from "painful attack of sciatica" he suffered at the meeting in Brussels, the commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas has said rebuffing "insulting" rumors of drunkenness.

The Commission President was also pictured on the same night in a wheelchair.

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The presidents of Finland and Ukraine supported him during a musical interlude where there were no chairs for spectators, and he was helped by the prime ministers of the Netherlands and Portugal as he descended the podium steps.

Juncker, who is travelling to the U.S. at the end of July, has said he suffers from sciatica, affecting his movements.

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According to VRT, Dutch Prime Minister Rutte, one of the leaders seen supporting Mr Juncker, told reporters he was unaware of any "serious health problems" but said he was aware the 63-year-old had "had a back problem for a while". "This was unfortunately the case on Wednesday night", the spokesperson said during the midday briefing.

Trump, who is set to host European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Washington this month, repeated his line that the EU was treating the United States unfairly on trade, shutting out USA farmers. Sciatica, a lower-back nerve condition, can cause leg pain and weakness. He added that Juncker made no secret about his illness and is now on medication and feels better. This is not the first time that Juncker has exhibited behaviour that indicates a drink problem.

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At the opening of a summit in the Latvian capital Riga, in 2015, he kissed leaders on the head, fiddled with their ties, saluted, and slapped them not just on the back but also on the stomach, chest and face.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit exposes Juncker health problems