Wednesday

1st Dec 2021

Cameron to force vote on Juncker nomination

  • Cameron is against both the Spitzenkandidat process and Juncker personally (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

UK prime minister David Cameron is to force EU leaders to vote on whether to appoint Jean Claude Juncker to become the next president of the European Commission at a summit later this week.

"I had a full and frank discussion with Herman van Rompuy. I told him there must be a vote on Commission president," Cameron tweeted after a meeting with the EU council president on Monday (23 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Van Rompuy had "agreed to work through how a vote would proceed", the prime minister’s office said following the meeting.

EU leaders will gather for a summit in Ypres and Brussels starting on Thursday (26 June) in which they are meant to agree a commission president candidate and a policy programme for the next five years.

A vote would be unprecedented. Traditionally, EU leaders decide on the leader of the EU executive by consensus following a formal discussion.

Cameron has argued that Juncker, a former prime minister of the Grand Duchy and veteran of more than twenty years of EU summitry, is too federalist and will be unable to reform the EU, in the wake of election results which saw a surge in support for eurosceptics of the right and left.

His office added that agreeing to a Juncker nomination would be "an irreversible step which would hand power from the European Council to the European Parliament" and "end the decades-long practice of always finding a candidate by consensus".

But Juncker’s campaign for the nomination has gained apparently irresistible momentum over the last week. The EU’s nine centre-left government leaders gave their backing for his candidacy following a meeting in Paris at the weekend.

French president, Francois Hollande, conceded that despite having favoured Socialist Spitzenkandidat Martin Schulz, it was important to "respect" the right of the centre-right EPP group, which took 221 seats in the Brussels parliament, to propose the next Commission boss.

Sweden, Hungary and the Netherlands remain in the anti-Juncker camp, but have not indicated how they would vote. Even with their support, however, Cameron would fall short of the blocking minority needed to block Juncker's candidacy.

But despite facing an embarrassing diplomatic defeat, Cameron insisted that he would not back down.

"I'm going to do what I said I would do and oppose this process and oppose this person," said Cameron, adding that "other people will have to make up their mind whether to do what their heart and head tells them or not".

"I know there are many other heads of state and governments in Europe who don't like this process that has come about; who don't think that this is the right person to lead reform in Europe," he said.

A Juncker nomination would be a major coup for the European parliament which has stood by the Spitzenkandidat system which was used for the first time at this May's elections, and insisted that it would veto any candidate who was not involved in the election.

The EPP lead candidate would then have to secure majority support from at least 376 MEPs in the 751-member assembly.

UK to go to the wire in anti-Juncker push

The UK has indicated that it is prepared to provoke an unprecedented vote among EU leaders at next week's summit on whether Jean-Claude Juncker should be the next commission president.

Cameron defiant following Juncker defeat

The British PM said he would "do it all again," despite being soundly defeated in his bid to prevent Juncker becoming the next EU commission chief.

Schinas spars with MEPs over migration job title

A number of MEPs pressed Margaritis Schinas to drop the "Protecting the European Way of Life" title of his portfolio, which deals with migration. But Schinas refused, claiming it needs protecting from terrorists and populists. He failed to convince.

News in Brief

  1. Ukraine eyes end of EU gas transit from 2024
  2. France says ready to talk about migrants if UK serious
  3. Latvia calls for permanent US troops to guard against Russia
  4. OPCW members urge Russia to come clean on Navalny
  5. Japan bars foreign arrivals as omicron spreads
  6. US to expel 54 more Russian diplomats, Moscow says
  7. Chinese president promises Africa one billion Covid vaccines
  8. Andersson elected as Swedish PM for second time in one week

Parliament outmanoeuvred in EU top-post game

The European Parliament on Tuesday lost a years-long power struggle, and gave up winning more influence on European politics via the so-called Spitzenkandidat process it had championed.

Who is the new EU parliament president, David Sassoli?

The 63-year-old centre-left Italian MEP was elected president of the European Parliament, with 345 votes. A former journalist, Sassoli has experience as a vice-president of the parliament, but is little known.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Frontex implicated 'to some extent' in violations, says officer
  2. Omicron shows need for pandemic global pact, WHO says
  3. Pesticides 'cost double the amount they yield', study finds
  4. Scholz's first job? Work with Poland on Belarus crisis
  5. Why Is Italy struggling to convert its anti-vaxxers?
  6. Consultancies pocketing EU millions prompts MEP grilling
  7. Russian mercenaries using EU-trained soldiers in Africa
  8. EUobserver wins right to keep VIP-jet story online

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us