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‘Lovable work of art’: Juncker says outgoing Merkel too ‘qualified’ to be lost as EU leader

‘Lovable work of art’: Juncker says outgoing Merkel too ‘qualified’  to be lost as EU leader
EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker has added a bit of romance to his song of praise for Angela Merkel, saying such a “lovable work of art” can’t “disappear into thin air” after 2021, when her chancellorship ends.

Speaking to German media this Saturday, Juncker confessed that he could not imagine Merkel disappearing without a trace as a politician. The chancellor, who promised not to run for office again in 2021, would be highly qualified for a top-tier EU position, the European Commission chief explained before suddenly upping the ante.

She is not only a person of respect, but also a complete and lovable work of art.

Juncker's European People's Party is poised to score big wins during the upcoming Europe-wide election in May, but he himself will quit his job afterwards. Manfred Weber, a Bavarian politician, has been put in pole position to be Juncker's successor.

That, of course, raises questions as to what is left for Merkel if she is promoted to one of the EU’s top jobs. Some other leaders have suggested that she will lead EU’s foreign policy or become European Council president, but the German chancellor herself hasn’t make any statement on it yet.

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Juncker’s relations with Merkel – who backed his European Commission chairmanship in 2014 – are generally warm, but maintaining them wasn’t free of embarrassing blunders.

Two years ago he mistook a call from Merkel for one from his wife right in front of TV cameras. “That's my wife calling – sorry,” Juncker said, taking his phone from his pocket at a press conference in Brussels.

“No, it's Mrs Merkel,” Juncker exclaimed before hanging up, prompting laughs from those in attendance.

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