PM toughens stance on Juncker

British Prime Minister David Cameron with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
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British Prime Minister David Cameron will call for a vote from fellow EU leaders on the next European Commission president if there is an attempt to rubber-stamp Jean-Claude Juncker in the role, BBC reported.

British Prime Minister David Cameron with German Chancellor Angela Merkel
British Prime Minister David Cameron with German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Mr Cameron opposes the ex-Luxembourg PM, whom he sees as preventing EU reforms, and will demand a vote at a summit next week. But correspondents say it looks likely Mr Juncker will get the job.

Meanwhile, business leaders have warned about EU measures affecting the City. The row over Mr Juncker hit the headlines a few weeks ago when Mr Cameron reportedly warned the UK could leave the EU if Mr Juncker became president of the European Commission – the body which drafts EU laws.

Mr Cameron wants a delay in the process in an effort to find a consensus candidate, but if his fellow 27 EU leaders are not even willing to consider alternatives to Mr Juncker, he will call a vote and require them to set out their positions clearly.

“British officials have been clear… that if there was the political will to find consensus then the decision on commission president could and should be delayed,” a source said.

“But if leaders are not even willing to consider alternative names, despite their widely expressed misgivings, then a vote should take place.

“The prime minister believes it is important that each leader sets out their position clearly when such an important principle is at stake – handing power to the parliament through a back-room deal.”

Mr Cameron, who wants to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s membership of the EU, wants a reformer to take charge, whereas Mr Juncker is seen by some as a politician with an instinct for ever-closer European integration. The responsibility for proposing a new president lies with Mr Cameron’s 27 fellow heads of government, in a grouping called the European Council.