MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Jean-Claude Juncker has been called many things during his premiership of Luxembourg and presidency of the European Commission, but probably never what he says U.S. President Donald Trump called him at the weekend: “a brutal killer”.
Juncker, who attended a meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven major powers in Canada last week, spoke about his encounter with Trump in a speech to Bavaria’s regional assembly in Munich on Thursday.
“Trump told me last week: ‘Jean-Claude - you are a brutal killer’,” Juncker said. “It is the first time Luxembourg has become such a danger to the United States. I think he meant it as a compliment, but I am not sure.”
The G7 summit failed to heal a growing rift between the United States and the other powers, many of which Trump accuses of trade policies that unfairly disadvantage the United States.
European Union countries on Thursday unanimously backed a plan to impose import duties on 2.8 billion euros’ (£2.4 billion) worth of U.S. products in response to U.S. tariffs on EU steel and aluminium, EU sources said.
“We cannot leave the tariffs unanswered. I’m not in a mood for war at all but I do not accept that we are dictated from elsewhere what we have to do in Europe,” Juncker said. “This is an independent continent. Many have fought for this.”
Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek in Brussels; Editing by Kevin Liffey