(Repeats to add 'TV' to slug, no changes to text)
BRUSSELS, Sept 19 The European Commission said
on Monday that Jean-Claude Juncker needed no protection from
awkward questions after a video blogger accused a staffer at
YouTube of trying to censor her questions to the EU chief
Juncker, 61, gave a series of live interviews on YouTube
last Thursday to young social media celebrities, including
French 'vlogger' Laetitia Birbes, aiming to counter an image of
Brussels' bureaucrats as stuffy and out of touch.
But Birbes accused a YouTube staffer of threatening her
career on Google's online video platform if she asked
"They expected me to put really easy questions," she said in
a video posted on Sunday. "It was all meant as a big advert for
She included a video clip showing a man in a YouTube T-shirt
telling her before the interview that she should not "alienate"
the Commission and YouTube - "unless you don't plan on lasting
long on YouTube". ( here
However, Birbes did in the end ask Juncker whether, as a
long-time premier of the "tax haven" Luxembourg, his campaign
against corporate tax avoidance was like having a bank robber as
chief of police.
The European Commission president replied that "robbers and
poachers" often made the best policemen.
The Commission's chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas told
reporters on Monday that, after more than a quarter of century
in politics, Juncker needed no protection from interviewers and
would not let his staff try to water down questions.
"Frankly," he said, "we are a bit annoyed that for some
reason we are now becoming part of the story with which we have
absolutely nothing to do."
YouTube said its employee had been responding to an inquiry
from Birbes about how to pitch her questions.
"Our colleague encouraged her to be respectful rather than
confrontational," it said, noting that she had asked the
questions she wanted to ask.
(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Kevin Liffey)