UK & World News

  • 30 June 2014, 18:39

Juncker's EU Victory 'Humiliation' For Cameron

David Cameron has faced a grilling in the Commons over his failed attempt to stop Jean-Claude Juncker being nominated for the EU's top job.

The Prime Minister addressed MPs after European leaders backed arch-federalist Mr Juncker by 26 votes to two last Friday.

Britain and Hungary were the only EU countries who opposed his appointment - and Mr Cameron described the nomination as a "bad day for Europe".

He said his bid to block Mr Juncker - based on the belief the former Luxembourg leader would not reform the EU - was "a point of principle on which I was not prepared to budge".

And he told the Commons his right to veto any new Commission president was taken away when the last Labour government signed the Nice and Lisbon treaties.

Mr Cameron said he did not agree with the European Parliament effectively choosing the president, believing this was a power which should be retained by national government leaders in the European Council.

He added: "I believe the Council could have found a candidate who commanded the support of every member state.

"That has been the practice on every previous occasion and I think it was a mistake to abandon this approach this time."

But Labour leader Ed Miliband launched a fierce attack, calling the episode an "utter humiliation".

Facing Mr Cameron across the dispatch box, he said: "His combination of threats, insults and disengagement turned out to be a masterclass in alienating your allies and losing the argument for Britain.

"The truth is the Prime Minister returned to Britain on Friday having failed - an appalling failure of relationship-building, winning support and delivering for Britain.

"He lost 26 votes to two and comes to this chamber and claims it as some kind of vindication of his tactics.

"Your party may think it represents splendid isolation - it isn't. It is utter humiliation.

"He was outwitted, outmanoeuvred and outvoted ? he is a defeated Prime Minister who cannot deliver for Britain."

On Sunday, Mr Juncker told Mr Cameron he was "fully committed" to addressing the UK's political concerns in Europe.

The pair spoke after the PM telephoned Mr Juncker to congratulate him on securing the nomination for the EU's top job.

Advertisement