The Juncker Bunker

Jean-Claude-Juncke_2927616bSo Juncker is deep in his own mental bunker, well you can hardly blame him as he claims he is being relentlessly hounded by the UK press and media. Juncker stakes his claim that the EPP got the biggest share of the euro EP2014 votes so is duly elected to the top position of EU Commission president as the Spitzenkandidaten, as expressed in the new vague treaty interpretation of euro elections and the relationship between the European Council and the European parliament. Er, well all is not as simple as Juncker would like us all to believe. Firstly, and embarrassingly many of his own EPP national party leaders are not openly supporting Juncker, another important fact that is over looked in all this heated debate is that the EPP caucus group in the EP as actually lost seats in the euro elections,  falling from 274 MEPs in 2009 euro elections to 221 in 2014, so its share of the vote as dropped from 36% to 29%. Now as only roughly only a 43.1% of voters turned out and voted in the EP2014 euro elections, and only 29% of those voters voted for the EPP which propose Juncker, its hardly a ringing endorsement of all Europeans. So all is not so cut and dry as Juncker likes to claim.

Cameron is trying to persuade Merkel not to back Juncker, but the German media, especially Der Spiegel seems to be up in arms defending Juncker, plus Merkel is getting pressure from her own party the Christian Democrats and coalition partners the Social Democrats to back Juncker. Problem is, and its a major problem, is many people do not think Juncker is the best man to face the big challenges and help reform the EU for the next five years? He is after all an old school EU technocat and openly very pro federalist in his thinking. This is what frightens Cameron as he declares  “Brussels has got too big, too bossy, too interfering” and that the EU will just carry on as before regardless of a big and growing eurosceptic feeling right across Europe, not to mention many in his own Conservative party back in the UK which could not stomach the thought of Juncker getting the top EU Commission job. There are many who speculate that Juncker will soon just throw in the towel anyway as political support for him slowly ebbs away.

Cameron will lobby Angela Merkel over the European commission presidency at a summit in Sweden.

Cameron is not alone in his opposition to Juncker, Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán are sympathetic to Cameron’s cause, as is Renzi of Italy. Cameron may be the most vocal critic of Juncker, and many are happy for him to be vocal as they sit on the fence, they may think it, put do not wish to speak it, they are politicians after all. Merkel is keen to keep the UK in Europe, she knows Europe desperately needs growth and jobs, and the UK is much more pro free trade, pro growth, much more than protectionist France is. Merkel realises growth and jobs is what the voters want right now, now more than ever, not just more euro treaty navel gazing and eurocrats bickering over technical treaty legal nuance’s, that will not go down well with Europeans. The voters of Europe are growing impatient and tired of EU failures and its aloofness and detachment from them from afar. Its made or break time for the EU, said so many times before, but this could really be it?

There are many jobs in the Commission to be filled and everyone is trying to get their place men in place. Rumours are Cameron wants his own éminence grise Robert Madelin to become the Commission Secretary General. Mid July is when the musical chairs begin. A major EU reform would be to scrap all the various and confusing presidencies and just have one, though pigs will fly before anyone agrees to that.7654 (2)

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  1. Frankly, I can’t understand Cameron’s opposition to Juncker. Of all Spitzenkandidaten, he was the readiest to try to accomodate the UK to keep it in.
    The Economist explains well that Cameron does no want to validate the concept of Spitzenkandidat and does not want a federalist, but both arguments make of Cameron “the bad guy”. Indeed, although I agree with you that the EU treaties do not explicitly support the idea of Spitzenkandidat, it is at the very least strange to refuse Juncker when you criticise at the same time the lack of democracy in the EU. Invoking the losses of the EPP and the low participation is no excuse: if the Tories lose some votes next year but can continue to govern, will they refuse to govern because they’ve lost votes? Furthermore, Cameron encouraged several times a deeper integration of the Eurozone, so I don’t see why he rejects Juncker: the idea of an ever-closer union can first be applied to the Eurozone and needs not encompass the UK for the time being.

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    • Cameron as little choice but to be much tougher towards the EU, voters in the UK are deserting the Tories and moving over to UKIP in droves, his party is very worried. Juncker may be viewed differently in other parts of Europe but in the UK he is viewed similar to Van Rompuy, an EU technocrat and as no interest or desire to reform the EU. Even the EPP group caucus is ridiculed here in the UK as just wet liberals, Many people in the UK just want to leave the EU altogether as they feel their democracy is slipping through their fingers towards Brussels.

      Maybe the best solution for every body would be is Europeans can have their Spitzenkandidat, and we can have our democracy back.

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