Cameron returns to Brussels hoping for better luck
After Juncker failure, PM expected to receive more sympathy over key EU poistions
David Cameron returns to Brussels on Wednesday hoping for more luck in pushing his choices for key EU positions as European leaders gather to decide the name of a new foreign policy chief to replace Britain’s Catherine Ashton.
The Prime Minister is expected to receive a more sympathetic hearing from his 27 fellow EU heads of state, after his failure to block the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker was sealed yesterday with his final approval by the European Parliament.
Front-runners for the High Representative post vacated by Baroness Ashton – which will be debated by the leaders over dinner tonight – include the current Italian foreign minister, Federica Mogherini. However, some nations are pushing for a candidate from eastern Europe such as the EU aid commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, of Bulgaria.
They will also discuss the next European Council president, and while Britain has not put forward any candidates, there is more consensus around the names and little of the controversy which enveloped Mr Juncker.
British officials view the current Danish Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and Ireland’s Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, as strong candidates to head the body which bring the 28 heads of state together – a feeling shared in many other European capitals.
As well as greater consensus over the potential candidates, the process is also more to the liking of the British Government, which opposed the European Parliament’s role in putting forward Mr Juncker as the sole candidate. “This is far more of an open field, the leaders get together and discuss the best person,” said a British diplomat.
Read more: After the Cabinet reshuffle, 'conciliator' Lord Hill named for EC role
Cabinet reshuffle: Philip Hammond's promotion to Foreign Secretary will delight Tory right-wingers
Mr Cameron fought a fierce battle to the keep the former Luxembourg Prime Minister from being nominated as President of the European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – arguing that he represented the old federalist vision of the EU and had no democratic legitimacy.
But only Hungary sided with Mr Cameron and the European Parliament approved Mr Juncker’s candidacy yesterday by 422 votes to 250 against.
In his speech, Mr Juncker called on governments and the EU to pay heed to the voters in May’s elections, which saw a surge in support for eurosceptic parties. “We have to allay their fears [and] fulfil their hopes,” he said.
Outlining his programme for the next five years, he said he would pursue policies ranging from more investment to stimulate growth to reducing mobile phone roaming charges. In a nod to Britain, he spoke about slashing red tape and reducing the role of Brussels in national affairs.
While his nomination was supported by the two biggest political groups in the parliament – the centre-right European People’s Party and the left-leaning Socialists & Democrats – the group including Conservative MEPs opposed him.
Mr Juncker does however see Britain as a crucial member of the EU. He has shown a willingness to reach out to Britain, which will be seeking an influential economic portfolio for Lord Hill of Oareford, named yesterday as the Government’s next commissioner.
Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 'Necrophilia-obsessed' girl among double murder accused in three-way sex case
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
Jennifer Lawrence 'naked sex video' will be leaked next, threatens 4Chan celebrity photo hacker
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£1036224 - £1513056 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Educatio...