David Cameron seeks vote on Jean-Claude Juncker presidency

PM fights on to stop the arch-federalist becoming European Commission head

David Cameron will this week make a last-ditch attempt to block Jean-Claude Juncker from becoming the next president of the European Commission by forcing an unprecedented vote among his fellow EU leaders.

The vote is the final option left available to Mr Cameron to stop the former prime minister of Luxembourg, seen in Downing Street as an arch-federalist, from taking the most powerful job in Brussels. Mr Juncker was expected to be anointed by EU leaders at a crunch summit later this week, but Britain is attempting to delay the move by forcing the vote.

Government sources said Mr Cameron wanted the vote as EU leaders did not wish to consider alternative names, despite misgivings about Mr Juncker’s candidacy across Europe. Even Angela Merkel, whose party is aligned to Mr Juncker’s, had initially failed to throw Germany’s weight behind the Luxembourg politician – although she has since backed him for the job. The move by Mr Cameron is likely to be in vain, however, as his call for an alternative has little support in Europe.

The French President, François Hollande, said yesterday that centre-left leaders will back Mr Juncker, joining the mainstream centre-right parties in what seems to be an unstoppable coalition of support. Only Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, is thought to be backing the British position publicly. Mark Rutte of Holland and Fredrik Reinfeldt of Sweden are thought to have voiced concerns about Mr Juncker in private and the vote is intended to “flush them out”, say sources.

Mr Cameron and the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, will meet the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, in London tomorrow in an attempt to press for a debate about alternative candidates.

Mr Cameron believes that renegotiation of Britain’s deal with Brussels will be impossible if Mr Juncker is at the helm.

A British source said: “British officials have been clear with Van Rompuy’s team that if there was the political will to find consensus, then the decision on the Commission presidency could and should be delayed. But if leaders are not even willing to consider alternative names, despite widely expressed misgivings, then a vote should take place. The Prime Minister believes it is important that each leader sets out their position clearly when such an important principle is at stake – handing power to the European Parliament through a back-room deal.”

Critics of Mr Cameron, including politicians in Europe, believe he squandered any hopes of winning over Ms Merkel to his position when Tory MEPs joined up with the right-wing AfD, the German equivalent to Ukip, which could cause trouble for the German Chancellor’s CDU party in elections this autumn.

Labour is calling for Britain’s nominee to the European Commission, tipped to be Andrew Lansley, to be debated in Parliament.

Gareth Thomas, Labour’s Europe spokesman, said last night: “In the run-up to next week’s European Council, it’s time for David Cameron to come clean about what reforms he wants to see in Europe, and what changes he is going to make back home.

“A new [European] Commission and a new Parliament offer a real opportunity for Britain to now push for reform, and Labour wants to see a Commissioner from Britain who is determined to use their position to seize that moment, not squander it,” he added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Application Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £17500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will b...

Recruitment Genius: Continuous Improvement Manager

£41500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is going through a period o...

Recruitment Genius: Data Entry Administrator

£10670 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee