‘Shame on you’ Juncker delivers UN rebuke when asked to speak English

by learn a language journalist

The European Commission President was prompted to speak first, to which he asked whether French or English would be the most suitable language to address the waiting journalists and onlookers.

When told English would be best for his speech, Mr Juncker quipped: “Shame on you.”

The European Union’s most senior official proceeded to laugh along with the crowd before making his speech in English.

Mr Juncker has previously spoke about the English language “losing importance” after Britain decided to quit the EU after the historic June 2016 referendum.

Shame on you

In May last year, the eurocrat told a conference in Italy that “English is losing importance in Europe.”

He told the crowd he would deliver his speech in French amid tensions with the UK over looming Brexit negotiations.

“Slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe and also because France has an election,” Mr Juncker said, explaining his choice of language.

In his September 23 speech at the UN’s headquarters in New York, Mr Juncker spoke of the importance of a “multilateral” approach to politics.

Jean-Claude Juncker jokes after being told to speak English at United Nations speech (Image: EbS)

He explained “multilateralism” to be a “bridge to a better humanity, a better world”.

Mr Jucnker said: “Antonio Guterres now is the secretary general of the United Nations. We came here to express admiration for him because he is doing an excellent job.

“We are also here to say that the multilateral approach is not dead, it has to be maintained – it is the only chance we have to shape the future of the globe in a way which is acceptable for all the stakeholders.

“We do not like the unilateral approach. We do think that multilateralism has to have a chance.

“It is difficult but the only avenue for the future. We are supporting actively and fully the UN system – the United Nations – because with your work you pave the way to a better future.

“The United Nations are the cornerstone of multilateralism, the bridge to a better humanity, a better world.

“The European Union will remain the close partner of the United Nations and of António Guterres.”

Mr Guterres praised Mr Juncker and the EU for being an “exemplary partner” of the UN, adding: “We share the same common ground: in favour of multilateralism and in favour of a rules-based international order.”

This content was originally published here.

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