Cameron defeated as EU backs Jean-Claude Juncker

Jun 27, 2014

EU leaders confirm Juncker as president, with Hungary and the UK the only dissenting votes

JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

David Cameron's hopes to derail Jean-Claude Juncker's campaign to be the next president of the European Commission were dashed today in Brussels as European leaders nominated the former prime minister of Luxembourg.

Cameron believes Juncker is too much in favour of closer political union and says his nomination ignores the "pro-reform message" sent by European voters last month.

He had sought to build a coalition of support among sceptical national leaders, but former allies Netherlands and Sweden changed tack earlier this week and pledged support for Juncker.

In the past, the presidency has been decided through informal negotiations and unanimous decisions. This time, Cameron forced the matter to a vote - in which he and the Hungarian prime minister were the only leaders to oppose Juncker's candidacy.

Jean-Claude Juncker: president of the European Commission 

Who is he?

Born in 1954 in Luxembourg, his father was a steelworker, and it was through his trade union activities that Juncker became interested in politics. He joined the Christian Social Party in the 1970s and, according to the official EU website, he attracted the attention of the party leaders "due to his talents as an orator and his analytical mind". He became the party's parliamentary secretary in 1979 and rose steadily through the ranks until becoming prime minister of Luxembourg in 1995. When Juncker left office in December 2013, he was the longest-serving head of government of any EU country.

Who are Juncker's supporters?

His biggest cheerleader is the European People's Party (EPP), which last month named Juncker as its candidate for the presidency of the European Commission – but that was before the extraordinary results of the EU elections, which resulted in a huge surge in support for anti-EU parties such as Ukip and France's Front National. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also a fan, declaring on Monday that she intends to "use all of my discussions" to press for Juncker's appointment.

What is the EPP?

Founded in 1976, it was initially an agglomeration of Christian Democratic Parties but it subsequently expanded to include conservatives and centre-right parties, including Germany's Christian Democratic Union (Angela Merkel's party) and France's Union for a Popular Movement. Since 1999 it has been the largest party in the European Parliament.

Are the Tories are in the EPP?

Not any more. The Conservative Party disagrees with the EPP's federalist policies and in 2009 formed the Alliance of European Conservative and Reformists. With members from many European nations, its website says it is working "to reform the European Union".

Why does Juncker think he deserves the job?

Because he's the candidate put forward by the European People's Party, and they won most seats in the European Parliament elections last month – thereby fulfilling what's known in EU vernacular as the Spitzenkandidat nomination process.


A German word, of course, describing the process by which the main political groups in the European Parliament promote candidates for the presidency in what the Economist describes as a "dubious attempt to make the EU more democratic".

What's Cameron got against him?

With Ukip's strong showing in last month's European elections, Cameron knows Europe will be a key battleground for next year's general election. He has pledged to try to reshape Britain's ties with the EU and promised to give British voters an in/out referendum on EU membership in 2017. In Cameron's view Juncker is an EU federalist who will be neither willing nor able to deliver the necessary reforms.

Does Juncker have a hinterland?

Yes, at least according to, a French website that claims to be a 100 per cent true repository of all-things Juncker. For example, Juncker has two allergies, broccoli and precision; his favourite pop band is Status Quo; and the only reason he doesn't walk on water is in order to protect the environment.

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Simple,if Juncker is elected Cameron immediately suspends our EU membership pending a referendum,grow a pair Dave or be known as the most pathetic post war PM

Cameron lacks "a pair" - full stop. Europe knows that he is merely posturing for domestic consumption - he has already declared his position on Europe - and that position is - "more of the same, if I can get away with it at home".

"[Spitzenkandidaten] is dubious attempt to make the EU more democratic" - The Economist

Well that's alright, the Economist has made a dubious attempt at coming up with reforms to make the EU more democratic that don't sound like already existing procedures.

If they don't think the Commission President needs an indirect mandate from the Parliament, either they respect the statusquo, and tell their Tory friends to shut up permanently about the so called "un-elected" Commission, or they can take a more radical approach and support direct elections of the Commission President and become full blown federalists.

Perhaps the Economist and the Tories could embark on a course of logical consistency in argumentation.

If Cameroon grew a pair, or even one, it would ruin his spink, eunuch smooth cheeks. The ones above his mouth, not lower down though I know that's whence he mostly declaims.

Cameron - Junckered. Cameron just has no clue on EU. He just sits on the fence, going no where. Another case of lack of judgement after the N o W affair. L O L., in light of the inevitable having come to pass, I can confidently predict that Cameron will huff and puff, for domestic consumption but will, in the final analysis, do absolutely NOTHING.

He has unimpeachable form for such - he used the fact that the Lisbon Treaty had already been signed before he assumed (shared) office to excuse him from his "cast iron guarantee" of an EU referendum after the 2010 General Election.

Lousy judgement - lousy leader!!!

Cameron and Orban are against Juncker's "more Europe" because they fear the British (or rather the English) and Hungarians will punish them in the next elections for supporting the E.U. in staid of promoting national interests. But the E.U. has its own political agenda and two countries allone are not strong enough to stop that agenda from getting realised. If Cameron is convinced (I'm not sure he really is) that the E.U. is going into the wrong direction, he should have the courage to get out of it and to go for Brexit, without any futher double talk. Personally I don't think Juncker is the best candidate for the job, but he has got the support of most of the EU-members. No way that the Brits or the Hungarians can stop this. So Cameron should choose between Brittain's absolute sovereignty or remaining in the Union, with all the consequences of that choice. The question is: has he the guts to finally make up his mind? By the way: the USA (the real boss of GB) prefer them to stay in, for obvious geopolitical reasons.