David Cameron fears Juncker ‘stitch-up’ in Brussels over European Commission presidency

 

Political Editor

David Cameron warned last night that the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker to the top job in Brussels would be a “stitch-up” and the “complete opposite” of democracy.

At a meeting in Sweden, Mr Cameron appealed to three centre-right leaders including Germany’s Angela Merkel to block the veteran former Prime Minister of Luxembourg’s bid to land the job of European Commission president.

He is the lead candidate of the mainstream centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), the largest group in the European Parliament after last month’s elections.

But Mr Cameron told a working dinner that Mr Juncker did not have a democratic mandate and that  leaders from EU nations should not accept a “backdoor power-shift” to the Strasbourg parliament that would set a “dangerous precedent for the future.”

Mr Cameron urged the other leaders, who also included Sweden’s Frederik Reinfeld and  Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, to “stand up and be counted.”

He said the EU’s Lisbon Treaty  did not mean the 28 leaders had to automatically nominate someone named in advance by a political group. He pointed out that the EPP lost seats in last month’s elections and now had less than a third of the seats in the Parliament.

A Downing Street source said: “This is not what Europe’s voters want….Elected national leaders should not accept rules being broken on the pretext of democracy. It is the complete opposite – a stitch-up dressed up as an election.”

Mr Cameron believes  that Mr Juncker, who supports greater EU integration, would not champion the reforms the EU needs. He also fears Mr Juncker would not be  inclined to give Britain the “new deal” he seeks.

The Prime Minister’s high profile campaign against the front-runner for the Brussels post has caused tension  between him and Ms Merkel, who is under pressure in Germany to back Mr Juncker.

Mr Cameron received a double boost ahead of last night’s talks. Mr Reinfeld, who is hosting the summit at his summer retreat in Harpsund, said other candidates for the Commission job should be considered.

“It is an important principle to see a balance between the institutions,” he said as he arrived for the meeting. “It is of the utmost interest and importance to the rest of Europe that Britain stays in the EU.”

And Labour announced it is opposing Mr Juncker’s candidacy. 

A Labour spokesman said: “The nominee for European Commission president is ultimately a decision for the European Council [the 28 leaders], including David Cameron. Labour will not support Jean-Claude Juncker as a candidate for president of the European Commission. Should Mr Juncker be put before the European Parliament, Labour MEPs would vote against him.

The message from the European elections was clear - that we need reform in Europe. We need reform so we can promote jobs and growth. Mr Juncker's record shows he would make these reforms more difficult."

The move reflects Labour’s desire not to be painted as “anti-reform” on Europe after Ukip topped the poll in last month’s elections.

The four centre-right leaders  discussed a further clampdown on benefit  claims by migrants who move from one EU country to another. They will also debate the crisis in the Ukraine,  the economy and trade, before giving a joint press conference at the close of their talks Tuesday

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea