European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has cancelled his scheduled appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos due to an apparent stomach flu.
“The president has stomach flu that will not allow him to travel to Davos,” the EU Commission’s chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas. “He’ll stay at home to recover.”
Signs that Juncker’s daily routine had been interrupted first came to light at the weekly rendezvous of the College of the Commissioners, which was chaired by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans.
Juncker earlier appeared to break with his usual aversion to the World Economic Forum and had been scheduled to address members of the global political elite that have assembled in the Swiss Alps. The tone of his planned speech would have focused on a “Europe is back” theme that would be in stark contrast to the downbeat mood surrounding the EU delegations in recent years.
The task of drumming up enthusiasm for a newly invigorated Europe now falls to the Commission’s delegation of five commissioners and two vice-presidents, plus the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier.
The Commission delegation that includes Maroš Šefčovič, Jyrki Katainen, Günther Oettinger, Cecilia Malmström, Carlos Moedas, Johannes Hahn, and Pierre Moscovici is half the size of last years when 12 Commissioners departed for Davos and left Juncker complaining to his Cabinet back in the Berlaymont that they were neglecting their portfolios.