Britain moves closer to EU exit door, as PM 'declares war'
Cameron says Juncker vote makes reform of the European Union more difficult
Britain has moved a step closer to leaving the EU as David Cameron declares “war” on Brussels over its nomination of the controversial Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission president.
The prime minister was outvoted by 26 to two yesterday as he attempted to prevent Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg, from taking the role.
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. Arch-federalist Juncker has also faced questions about his drinking habits.
Speaking after the vote, Cameron said it was a “sad day for Europe”. He added that it has “got harder” for Britain to reform the EU and remain within it, though he added that it is “still achievable”.
The result was a boost for Ukip and other Eurosceptics who want Britain to quit the union. But Cameron says the development has only “stiffened [his] resolve to fight for reform in the EU”.
He vowed to wage a “long, tough fight” to reform Brussels before campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU in an in-out referendum he has promised to hold in 2017.
“This is going to be a long, tough fight,” he said. “And frankly sometimes you have to be ready to lose a battle in order to win a war.”