UK threatens leave EU

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German magazine Der Spiegel says British Prime Minister M David Cameron warned that the UK could leave the EU if Luxembourg ex-PM Jean-Claude Juncker became president of the European Commission.

CameronIt reported Mr Cameron as saying that the appointment could destabilise his government, which may bring forward referendum plans on EU membership.

Downing Street has not yet commented.

Mr Juncker’s European People’s Party won the largest number of seats in the European parliament in the May polls.

The centre-right party, which also includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, won 213 out of 751 seats in the Parliament and chose Mr Juncker as its candidate for the presidency, succeeding Portugal’s Jose Manuel Barroso, BBC reported.

But David Cameron and several other European leaders have voiced opposition to his appointment, which has received the backing of Chancellor Merkel.

Correspondents say Mr Cameron had made his views clear, at an informal EU summit earlier this week, that he wanted a reformer to take charge of the EU executive.

Der Spiegel says the British prime minister issued the warning to Angela Merkel during the meeting in Brussels.

Quoting “sources close to the participants” of the summit, the influential magazine said Mr Cameron told Chancellor Merkel that selecting Mr Juncker could destabilise his government to such an extent that an in-out referendum on Britain’s EU membership would have to be brought forward.

The magazine quotes Mr Cameron as telling the German chancellor that “a face from the 1980s cannot solve the problems of the next five years”.

A senior government source told the BBC it did not recognise the language about destabilisation and that it is not something the prime minister would have said.

 

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