UK veto upheld as 'matter of principle'
Sunday 26 June 1994
'I have said consistently that we must reach a consensus on the appointment of the president of the Commission . . . The president must have the clear long-term support of us all or he cannot do the job properly.'
Sir Leon Brittan was the best-qualified candidate, but after his withdrawal, Mr Major said he was prepared to support Ruud Lubbers, the Dutch Prime Minister.
'I could not join the consensus for Jean-Luc Dehaene . . . There is no personal element in this decision . . . nor is it a question of nationality.'
He warned the council that to prolong the debate would be unproductive. 'There will be no change in the British government's position. This is a matter of principle for us. We are not going to get a consensus for Mr Dehaene.'
Mr Major said he was confident that the consultation between the presidency and all the member states would produce a candidate who had the support of all the members. 'That is what happened in 1984 and it could happen again. There is no point in inviting me to reconsider. I have thought about this very carefully. I have reconsidered. This situation is only a crisis if everybody wants to make it one.'
British officials said later that Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, had said the process of consultation involving Mr Dehaene had been 'defective'. That was seen as a reference to allegations of an agreement by Paris and Bonn to promote Mr Dehaene. British officials said it had contributed to the problem.
'Dehaene finally presented himself on Friday. Even before that, a good deal of unattributable briefing had been presented in favour of Dehaene, which was a poor substitute for proper consultation,' said one British source.
'We had a clear preference for Brittan and Lubbers, and did not find Dehaene acceptable. It is a matter of qualifications for the job,' he added.
Asked whether Peter Sutherland, the Irish Gatt negotiator, was Britain's preferred candidate, he added: 'We are now in a situation where new candidates will need to come forward or be brought forward.'
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
People are criticising Fifa World Cup sponsors with corrupt corporate logos
Natalie Portman tells Harvard graduates: 'Accept your lack of knowledge'
British tourists complain impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Fifa corruption live: Sebb Blatter warns 'more bad news may follow' as he clings to power
Skull found in Spain could be the world's first-ever murder victim
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...