Jean-Claude Juncker, the outgoing president of the EU Commission, yesterday cut short his holiday to enter hospital for emergency surgery, Belga reports.
Juncker (photo) was on holiday in Austria, but returned home unexpectedly to Luxembourg, where he was operated on to remove his gall bladder, a spokesperson for the Commission said. It was not made clear exactly when the incident took place, or when the operation was carried out.
The gall bladder is a small, pear-shaped organ about 7-10cm long which sits below the liver and stores and concentrates bile, which is then released into the small intestine, where the bile helps in the digestion of fats. Removal of the gall bladder, or cholecystectomy to give it its medical name, is carried out to prevent the recurrence of gallstones, which occur when the bile in the gall bladder becomes concentrated into crystals. They can cause blockages, inflammation and jaundice. In very rare cases the gall bladder can be removed because of cancer.
The Commission’s statement gave no indication of the cause of the president’s condition.
Juncker will be 65 years old in December, and became prime minister of Luxembourg in 1995 until 2013. In 2014 he was chosen as president of the Commission for a five-year term which will be officially completed in October. His place will be taken by the German Ursula von der Leyen.