Cameron returns to Brussels hoping for better luck

After Juncker failure, PM expected to receive more sympathy over key EU poistions

Brussels

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
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: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'