Coffee House

David Cameron is determined to fight Jean-Claude Juncker to the end

23 June 2014

5:04 PM

23 June 2014

5:04 PM

The family photo at this week’s EU summit will be a particularly awkward affair. EU leaders will have just come from listening to the last post at the Menin Gate, the memorial to the British and Commonwealth dead of the Ypres campaign, but they will know that they are about to have an unholy row over dinner as David Cameron tries to stop Jean-Claude Juncker from becoming President of the European Commission.

Aware of how bad all this looks, the head of the EU Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has been busy trying to prevent a row at Ypres. Cameron and Van Rompuy had a ‘full and frank’ discussion about the matter today, Downing Street says. But Cameron is still determined to have this fight; he isn’t backing down despite only having the Hungarians for allies.


Cameron has got himself into this position because Angela Merkel strongly suggested to him that she wouldn’t let Juncker get the job. As one Cameron loyalist told me at the weekend the Prime Minister ‘had been given assurances this wouldn’t happen’. But having got here, Cameron wants to show the rest of Europe that he is prepared to follow through on his rhetoric: that when he says he’ll oppose something he means it. Downing Street regards getting this message across as key to the success of the renegotiation.

If Juncker gets the job, which seems almost certain, it’ll be a humiliating moment for Cameron. It’ll strengthen the Ukip argument that you can’t change the EU.

Some of Cameron’s closest allies are hopeful that after embarrassing him like this, Merkel will offer him some kind of down-payment on the renegotiation ahead of the election. Without that, Cameron will be vulnerable to the jibe that his renegotiation strategy has no serious chance of success.

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  • commenteer

    It’s difficult not to be struck dumb by Cameron’s naivety. Who on earth is advising him?

    • ArchiePonsonby

      Some Australian or other, I heard!

  • Lady Magdalene

    Cameron’s renegotiation strategy HAS no chance of success. The EU hasn’t spent the past 60 years painstakingly accruing power, just to hand it back now to suit a weak British premier.
    We don’t want a few p!ddling little concessions anyway: we want our country back. That means invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treachery and leaving the EU.

  • Rillian

    It’s all an act. There will be more and more EU, until you vote something about it.

  • Aberrant_Apostrophe

    “Some of Cameron’s closest allies are hopeful that after embarrassing him like this, Merkel will offer him some kind of down-payment on the renegotiation ahead of the election.”

    Whoopee! We reclaim the right to have straight bananas…

  • global city

    “as one Cameron loyalist told me this weekend”

    That could have been you, James, talking to yourself.

  • anyfool

    It is doubtful if any of the current crop of politicians, have the sort of character to feel embarrassment let alone shame.
    It could be said that Merkel that dreadful little commie cast off would be a shoo in for leader of the Labour Party in the UK, she like Miliband does not have any moral compass, but this leads you to the conclusion that Cameron lacks judgement in a very big way.
    He was taken in by Miliband over Syria who despite seeking ever more conditions, Miliband eventually stabbed him in the back.
    He then falls for the blandishment of the Frumpy Frau who with a nod and wink led him up a dark alley so her little gang of minions including Milibands hero Hollande could mug him.
    Judgement is all in a politician, his next move will reveal whether he has any at all.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      “…this leads you to the conclusion that Cameron lacks judgement in a very big way.” Been obvious from day one, surely?

  • global city

    James. Juncker is prepared to offer the UK a really good associate deal, that is why Cameron is going so crazy. The Tories do not actually want a deal that would weaken their personal positions at the top table as part of the euro-elite, they never have.

    Their euroscepticism has always been bogus and we may all be about to find this out.

    • DaveTheRave

      Hence, when a certain former premier said ‘No, no, no!’, she was removed forthwith by the grandees. The party is one thing but doing the bidding of your true peers elsewhere is what keeps you safe. The project is what really matters.

      • global city


  • Pier66

    They will vote juncker disaster old burocrats comunist man
    We dont care at all ! referendum to go out and leave euro is very bad destiny

  • LadyDingDong

    I have just posted this on the Guardian website to irritate the enemy. I happen to believe it.

    “To all those here slagging off Cameron – if Juncker gets the job then Cameron will campaign for a no in an early referendum and will enter into an alliance with UKIP. On a more than 50% combined Conservative/UKIP vote Labour and the libDems will be wiped out and then we will regain control of our country and the boundaries fit for a Conservative future. Keep it up please.

    • Pier66

      I like so much ladydingdong you have a great little logo…then I like me too to irritate the enemy
      Cameron will call an earlier referendum should be the best option
      I cant wait…december 2014 for referendum could be an huge present for Britain people
      The vote for to go out could be more then 65% I think

    • goatmince

      I nearly wet my pants there.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …do goat sockpuppets wear pants, lad?

    • Conway

      To enter an alliance with UKIP, UKIP would have to be willing. Farage isn’t and frankly, neither are many members.

    • Lady Magdalene

      Farage has made it clear that there will be no deals with Cameron.

    • commenteer

      If only this were the case.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      Ha ha! Top marks, my lady! They really don’t like it up ’em1

  • DaveTheRave

    If so, then clearly he does not envisage ‘our country’ leaving this smiling dictatorship. Does he really think this is worth all the effort? And would a compromise candidate truly be any better?
    Getting out while we can is the only answer, allowing us to pursue free trade with the world.

    • George_Arseborne

      Cameron is too weak. Can’t stop Junker as EU President and cannot renegotiate any power. He is completely useless. I can’t wait to see him leave Downing Street next May for our great leader Ed Milliband to take command

      • global city

        He doesn’t want the deal that juncker has long said he is prepared to offer the UK.

        The Tories are the true party of ‘In’ (as far in that no light would ever escape)

        If we had proper journalists in the UK at least one of them would have pursued this avenue and discovered for themselves what Juncker has said again and again.