Home Foreign David Cameron to face Commons questions over Juncker vote

David Cameron to face Commons questions over Juncker vote


Downing Street said David Cameron phoned Jean-Claude Juncker to “congratulate” him on his new job
David Cameron will face questions in the House of Commons later about his failed bid to block the appointment of the new European Commission president.

The prime minister forced a vote of EU states on the selection of Jean-Claude Juncker – but lost it 26-2 on Friday.

In Monday’s Daily Telegraph, the PM has said he will “work with” Mr Juncker, adding: “There is business we can do”.

He said he was still determined to renegotiate the UK-EU relationship – but accepted that was now “harder”.

And defending his decision to demand Friday’s vote, he said he was right to stand up for the principle that the president of the European Council should be chosen by “consensus”.

“Sometimes it is possible to be isolated and to be right,” he added.

Only Britain and Hungary voted to block the appointment of Mr Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg, who is seen as a backer of closer political union in the EU.

‘Fair deal’

Mr Cameron is likely to face criticism from Labour in the Commons later.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said the PM’s strategy “totally failed”, and shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the bid to block Mr Juncker’s appointment was a “catastrophe for Britain and the British national interest”.

Mr Cameron phoned Mr Juncker on Sunday, “congratulated” him on his new job and they spoke about a “fair deal for Britain”, a Downing Street spokesman said.

In his article on the situation, the PM said: “If by a fair deal, we can agree that we are not heading, at different speeds, to the same place – as some have assumed up to now – then there is business we can do.”

He said further integration in Europe was “inevitable” – and he did not oppose it – but the UK wanted “no part of it”.

Britain still had allies in the EU and Friday’s vote was not a “fatal blow to our renegotiation strategy in Europe”, he said.

“I do not deny that it has made the task harder and the stakes higher,” Mr Cameron added

“But it is not in our nature as a country to give up.”

‘Broad consensus’

Meanwhile Germany’s finance minister has told the Financial Times a British exit from the EU is “unimaginable” and “absolutely not acceptable”.

Wolfgang Schauble said his country would do everything in its power to keep Britain in the union

“Clearly, we have in many economic questions and regulatory questions a broad consensus,” he said.

“Historically, politically, democratically, culturally, Great Britain is entirely indispensable for Europe.” (BBC)

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