Mr Juncker clashed with Mr Tusk over how to handle the European migrant crisis (Image: GETTY)
The president of the European commission leapt to the defence of the bloc when questioned about the controversial policy which four member states refused to back. In September 2015 Mr Juncker used a “state of the union” address to announce plans to distribute 120,000 refugees among members states, with binding quotas. He also said countries outside the EU quota system such as the UK, Ireland and Denmark, should pay more cash into funds for supporting asylum seekers.
But the reforms aimed at establishing a collective response to the crisis proved to be highly divisive.
In an interview with the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Mr Junker said he had implored European governments to get behind the proposals while vowing the quotas would be voluntary.
He said: “I assured each of them that the European Commission would not press for it to be mandatory - if the next day, at the EU Council, they would declare a voluntary reception of the number of refugees that we propose for each country.
“So the narrative of a stubborn, stupid Commission that has tried to impose a mandatory system to the end is not true. We proposed a