Sunday

21st Apr 2019

Cameron defiant following Juncker defeat

UK Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that he had no regrets and would "do it all again," despite being soundly defeated in his bid to prevent Jean Claude Juncker becoming the next President of the European Commission.

"I feel totally comfortable with how I handled this," he told a news conference following the EU summit on Friday (27 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"In a Europe crying out for reform we've chosen the ultimate Brussels insider who probably knows every furrow in this building," he said.

Earlier, Cameron warned fellow EU leaders that they would "live to regret" choosing Juncker to lead the EU executive for the next five years.

But despite demanding a formal vote, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban was the only leader to join Cameron as the bloc's 26 other leaders swung behind the Spitzenkandidat of the centre-right EPP political group.

Over lunch at Friday's summit, the UK prime minister had described the move as a "sad moment" for Europe.

"I am disappointed that we have reached this point," he told fellow leaders, warning them to "think very carefully about what they are setting for the future".

Speaking at a news conference following the summit, Cameron described it as "the wrong principle, the wrong procedure and the wrong person".

But he distanced himself from suggestions that the diplomatic defeat meant that Britain had moved closer to leaving the EU.

"Britain's national interest lies in reforming the EU then campaigning for us to stay in a reformed EU," he said, but conceded that "clearly this has got a lot tougher".

Last year Cameron pledged to renegotiate the UK's membership terms followed by an 'in/out' referendum in 2017 if his Conservative party wins next year's general election.

Although Cameron will return to London to face a hostile inquest after losing the diplomatic battle, he said he won some victories.

"For the first time all my 27 fellow heads of government have agreed explicitly that they will need to address Britain’s concerns about the EU," he said.

"The conclusions also state explicitly that ever closer union allows for different paths of integration for different countries and respects the wish of those – like Britain – who do not want deeper integration," he added.

"We've taken a big step back..but I took a small step forward," he said.

For her part, Germany's Angela Merkel told reporters that EU leaders had shown that they were "willing to take on board the serious concerns of the UK".

Cameron to force vote on Juncker nomination

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.

Magazine

The murky perks of an MEP

Accountability and transparency are in short supply when it comes to how MEPs spend €40m every year on "office supplies". Efforts to pry open this secrecy have been met with strong resistance from many of the parliament's most powerful MEPs.

Analysis

Bell tolls for EU asylum reforms

The cornerstone the EU's asylum reforms referred to by the shorthand as 'Dublin' could end up in the scrapheap following the European elections in May.

Opinion

The democratic swindle of the Spitzenkandidat

The Spitzenkandidat system has become an instrument of the promotion of MEPs (often German), and was supposed to make Europe more democratic. Reality has revealed the opposite.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us