Tuesday

6th Dec 2016

Focus

EU states at odds over Juncker

  • Jean-Claude Juncker is causing a bit of stir among EU leaders (Photo: consilium.europa.au)

Jean-Claude Juncker may have been endorsed by Germany for the European Commission top job, but Italy and France have signalled opposition, while Britain has warned about the consequences of choosing the former Luxembourg PM for the post.

A British official on Sunday (1 June) confirmed to Reuters that British PM David Cameron at an EU summit last week told fellow leaders that Juncker was not the right person for the job and that if he is picked, it will be more likely that Britons would vote to leave the EU.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The official however dismissed reports that Cameron threatened to bring forward a referendum on Britain's EU membership if Juncker became commission President.

German magazine Der Spiegel the same day had reported that Cameron told fellow leaders his government would be destabilised to such an extent if Juncker is picked, that the referendum planned for 2017 would need to take place sooner and that Brits would likely vote to leave the EU.

Der Spiegel also reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel at that same summit opposed Juncker being appointed as the negotiator with member states and the European Parliament, and that she preferred EU Council chief Herman Van Rompuy to do the job instead.

On Friday, however, Merkel gave Juncker her strongest endorsement so far, saying that she is "now conducting all of my talks in the spirit that Jean-Claude Juncker should become president of the European Commission."

But Cameron is not alone in his anti-Juncker stance. Sweden and Hungary have already spoken openly against him.

And on Sunday, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Juncker has no automatic right to the post.

"Juncker is 'one' name for the Commission, but he is not 'the' name," Renzi said during an economic conference in Trento.

Renzi, who is a Social Democrat, is not part of the European People's Party which put Juncker forward as top candidate for the EU elections.

Another centre-left leader, France's Francois Hollande, is also reportedly against Juncker.

German mass-selling tabloid Bild am Sonntag reported that Hollande is trying to block Juncker and to get the post for his former finance minister, Pierre Moscovici.

Hollande's purported argument is that with the far-right National Front winning the EU elections in France, a signal of support for his government is badly needed.

For Juncker to get the nomination of EU leaders for the commission job, a 'qualified majority' is needed, where bigger states have a weightier vote. If Italy and France abstain or say No, while Britain, Sweden and Hungary vote No, Juncker does not have enough votes.

For his part, Juncker remains upbeat. He told Bild am Sonntag he is "optimistic about being chosen as the next Commission president by mid-July".

Being endorsed by EU leaders is only part of the process. He would then also need majority backing in the EP. The parliament is also due to vote again in autumn on the composition of the new EU commission, after conducting hearings of each commissioner candidate.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Belarus and Latvia to sign defence pact
  2. EU commission to help oversee foreign gas deals
  3. Poland challenges EU decision on Russian gas
  4. Idea of road transport agency gains momentum among MEPs
  5. EU dismisses euro crisis risk after Italian referendum
  6. Italy result poses no risk to the EU, Sapin says
  7. EU asked to clarify links to Iran executions
  8. Italian economy minister tipped as caretaker PM

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  2. CESICESI Congress Focuses on Future of Work, Public Services and Digitalisation
  3. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  4. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  5. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  6. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  7. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  8. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  9. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  10. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome
  11. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  12. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)