Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cameron Is Branded a 'Toxic PM' over EU

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cameron Is Branded a 'Toxic PM' over EU

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Woodcock

THE nomination of arch-federalist Jean-Claude Juncker as the new president of the Brussels Commission is a "bad day for Europe", David Cameron said.

The Prime Minister, defeated in his last ditch attempt to block Mr Juncker's candidacy, said his fellow EU leaders had made a "serious mistake" in allowing the European Parliament to choose the presidency.

"This is a bad day for Europe. It risks undermining the position of national governments, it risks undermining the power of national parliaments and it hands new power to the European Parliament," he said.

Mr Juncker's nomination was approved by a margin of 26-2, after Mr Cameron insisted on forcing a vote of EU leaders with only Mr Cameron and Hungarian PM Viktor Orban opposed.

The vote represented a departure from the decades-old tradition that Commission presidents are chosen by consensus of national heads of government.

At the end of the Brussels summit, Mr Cameron said he had insisted on a vote as a matter of principle.

"If the European Council, the elected heads of government, are going to allow the European Parliament to choose the next president of the European Commission in this way I wanted it on the record that Britain opposed that," he said.

The Prime Minister said while Europe had taken "one big step backwards" Britain had "made some small steps forward".

Britain would "be the voice" of fedup EU voters who had expressed their discontent by voting for marginal parties, he said.

The Prime Minister insisted he had successfully gathered allies for a number of battles in Europe, including cutting the budget and completing the single market.

He said: "On this issue, of course I am disappointed to have lost the vote but the people you have to ask about that are not people who are been consistent all the way through about their views about Juncker and this process, it's the people who maybe have taken different views along the way. …

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