Caught on tape: In four-letter words, what senior EU politicians think of David Cameron

Astonishing attack comes as Prime Minister faces embarrassing defeat in attempt to stop Jean-Claude Juncker becoming next European Commission president

David Cameron’s strategy on Europe was in disarray tonight as a leading politician in Poland, an ally of Britain, was secretly taped during an expletive-laden outburst accusing him of “incompetence” and appeasing Eurosceptics with “stupid propaganda”.

The astonishing attack emerged as Mr Cameron faced an embarrassing defeat in his lonely attempt to stop the veteran federalist Jean-Claude Juncker being chosen as the next president of the European Commission at a summit of EU leaders on Friday. The Prime Minister will warn them that Mr Juncker’s appointment would increase the chances of Britain voting to leave the EU in the 2017 in/out referendum he has promised.

Amid dismay in European capitals at Mr Cameron’s negotiating tactics, the Prime Minister looks set to be deserted by Germany, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands, with which he hoped to gather enough votes to block Mr Juncker, the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

Mr Cameron can be sure of the backing of only one country – Hungary.

“He has lost a lot of friends and goodwill by being so bullish,” one Brussels insider said.

Downing Street talks between Mr Cameron and Herman Van Rompuy, who will chair the summit as President of the European Council, ended without agreement yesterday. No 10 described the meeting as “full and frank” – diplomatic code for a row.

Mr Cameron told Mr Van Rompuy he would go down fighting by forcing a vote at the summit, breaking with the tradition that the top Brussels job is decided by consensus.

A vote would force other leaders to say why they believe Mr Juncker is the right man for the job, flushing out what Britain claims are their private doubts about Mr Juncker.

Explosive leaks of what Polish politicians really think about Mr Cameron emerged when secretly taped recordings of their conversations this spring were passed to the Polish magazine Wprost.

Jacek Rostowski, Poland’s former Finance Minister, said: “[Cameron] thinks he’ll go renegotiate [EU rules on freedom of movement] and come back, no Polish government could agree to it. Except in return for a mountain of gold.”

Radoslaw Sikorski, the current Polish Foreign Minister, replied: “It’s either a very badly thought through move, or, not for the first time a kind of incompetence in European affairs. Remember? He f****d up the fiscal pact [which Mr Cameron vetoed in 2011 but failed to stop]. He f****d it up. Simple as that.

“He is not interested, he does not get it, he believes in the stupid propaganda, he stupidly tries to play the system... his whole strategy of feeding [his Eurosceptic critics] scraps in order to satisfy them is just as I predicted, turning against him; he should have said, ‘f*** off’, tried to convince people and isolate [the sceptics]. But he ceded the field to those that are now embarrassing him.”

Mr Sikorski, a contemporary of Mr Cameron at Oxford University and member of the hell-raising Bullingdon Club at the same time as Boris Johnson, added: “They’ve f****d up Eastern Europe and a few other things. ‘If Europe doesn’t reform, it’ll end badly!’ Let them worry about their economy. If they don’t reorganise themselves, they’ll have as bad an economy as Germany.”

Mr Rostowski, another Anglophile, said the impact of Britain leaving the EU “will generally be bad for us, because we would like for Great Britain to stay. I think it’ll be the case that [Mr Cameron] will lose the elections. Great Britain will leave. Once they do, they’ll keep open borders. Not for [gypsy] beggars.”

Mr Cameron’s clampdown on “benefit tourism” by EU migrants in Britain played badly in Poland.

Pawel Gras, then media spokesman for Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister, said this was “thoughtless, probably suggested by [some spin doctor], probably came from some focus group, he didn’t think through the consequences, the whole thing was stupid, Donald [Tusk] called him at once to discuss it, he had such a go at him [Mr Cameron], I mean, f***, it’s a shame we didn’t record it, he had a such a proper f****** go at him”.

Responding to the leaks, Downing Street said: “The Prime Minister has been very clear that support for the EU in the UK is wafer thin. There is real disillusionment amongst British voters about the EU.

“Clearly abuse of the right to free movement is one of those issues where people have concerns and where we think it is absolutely right to have a discussion and look at what can be done.”

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn