Addressing the outgoing European Commission President, Italian populist MEP Marco Zanni claimed EU citizens will be happy to see Mr Juncker finally leave the reigns of the Commission to someone else. However, he is already blasting future Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen for potentially following the same path. As group leaders took turns to pay tribute to the Luxembourgish politician, Mr Zanni said: “President Juncker, five years ago when you came to this chamber I expressed an awful lot of puzzlement that you were the right person for the European rebirth. But we thought we’d give you the benefit of the doubt.
“Now, after five years that doubt has become certainty.
“You are leaving us a Europe that is worse than the one that was there when you took over five years ago.
“A divided Europe, a weak one, an ill Europe which is not in a position to face up to modern challenges.
“Or to the three main problems that European citizens ask us to solve: managing migration flows, the problem of economic growth and internal security.
“Your Commission and your mandate for the past five years failed in each one of these goals.
“And we don’t have to look very far to find the reasons for that, we don’t even have to go outside these institutions.
“The role policies that you put forward, the repetition of mistakes made by previous Commissions.
“You spoke about the successes of your Commission, you spoke about growth.
“But this is rickety growth, we are losing ground in comparison with others and the industrialisation isn’t something that you mentioned.
“There are large European companies that have failed and are no longer in business.”
Speaking in the European Parliament earlier today, the European Commission chief said it has “pained” him to spend much of his five-year term in charge of the bloc dealing with Britain’s divorce.
Recalling his time at the helm of the Brussels project, Mr Juncker said: “In truth, it has pained me to spend so much of this mandate dealing with Brexit when I thought of nothing less how this Union could do better for its citizens.” He added: “A waste of time and a waste of energy!”
Mr Juncker told MEPs that the new Brexit deal “creates legal certainty”.
“It took a huge amount of work to arrive at this point. I listened to Prime Minister Johnson in the same way as I did to Prime Minister May,” he said.
“Once again they have shown creativity and determination.“
At least we can look ourselves in the eye and say that we have done all in our power to make sure that this departure is orderly.”