Juncker still has an office in the BerlaymontKenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Jean-Claude Juncker: Von der Leyen and I are ‘like the two popes’

Former Commission chief says he still has an office in the ‘architectural monster’ that is the Berlaymont.


Former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he and his successor, Ursula von der Leyen, were "like the two popes in the Vatican."

"On closer consideration, I'm von der Leyen's Ratzinger," he said, referring to Joseph Ratzinger, the former Pope Benedict who resigned in 2013 and was replaced by Pope Francis.

Giving an acceptance speech in Berlin on Thursday after receiving a lifetime achievement award, Juncker said he still has an office in the Commission's Berlaymont headquarters, which he dubbed an "architectural monster."

"Ursula von der Leyen has an office on the 13th floor ... I always thought I was going to occupy it forever. I'm sitting a couple of floors further down ... we are like the two popes in the Vatican," Juncker joked.

Juncker said he and von der Leyen "get along well" and that they "fight for the same targets." Asked if they have regular catch-ups, he said that back in December von der Leyen promised to visit him every week.

"It's been a long week," he added.