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EU Chief Juncker to Undergo Emergency Gallbladder Surgery

Natalia Drozdiak
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EU Chief Juncker to Undergo Emergency Gallbladder Surgery

(Bloomberg) -- European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is set to undergo emergency surgery to have his gallbladder removed.

The EU leader was vacationing in Austria when he was taken back to Luxembourg for the operation, the EU said in a statement on Saturday. Juncker, 64, is set to leave his post when his term ends this fall.

The former prime minister of Luxembourg has previously faced questions about his health. At a North Atlantic Treaty Organization Summit last year, Juncker was filmed struggling to keep his balance, which the commission later said was the result of a painful sciatica attack.

Gallbladder removal surgery is a common procedure, according to the U.K.’s NHS website, which says an operation to take it out is often recommended if any problems with it develop. While such procedures are uncomplicated, it can sometimes take weeks before people return to normal activities.

Juncker is scheduled to attend the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, next weekend, though the emergency procedure means the EU chief may not be in a position to participate. The leaders are expected to discuss global challenges in the economy and the environment as well as relations with Iran, Russia and North Korea.

The gallbladder surgery comes as the EU leader is set to hand over the presidency of the European Commission to Ursula von der Leyen in October. Following her confirmation by the European Parliament last month, the former German defense minister is accepting nominations from EU member states for the team of senior officials who will be in charge of the bloc’s executive body for the next five years.

The commission has in recent years had to grapple with complex challenges, including difficult negotiations with the U.K. as it plans to leave the bloc as well as simmering tensions with the U.S. over trade.

(Updates with more background from fourth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at ndrozdiak1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Chad Thomas, James Amott

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