Coffee House

How will Cameron work with Juncker?

27 June 2014

27 June 2014

David Cameron has been repeating his line about the importance of sticking to principles in opposing Jean-Claude Juncker this morning ahed of the European Council summit where his fate will be sealed. As he walked into the summit this morning, the Prime Minister said:

‘There are times when it’s very important to stick to your principles and stick to your convictions even if the odds are heavily stacked against you, rather than go along with something that you believe is profoundly wrong and today is one of those days. I’ll tell you why it is so important: the European elections showed there is a huge disquiet about the way the European Union works and yet the response, I believe, is going to be wrong on two grounds: wrong on the grounds of principle; it’s not right that the elected heads of government of the European countries will give up their right to nominate the head of the European Commission; the most important role in Europe, that is a bad principle, and it’s the wrong person.’

But once Cameron has had his paler ‘no, no, no’ moment with Juncker, he then needs to work out how he can work with this new president, having opposed him so vehemently, and with the support of the British press who have drawn attention to Juncker’s less appealing habits in a way that Juncker himself is furious about. As a political gesture, opposing Juncker has pleased eurosceptics, but Cameron will be in the worst possible position to sweet talk the man he must do business with. Breakfast cognacs may only be the start of that reconciliation.

More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.

Show comments
  • Roger Hudson

    Cameron has got the whole GCHQ / SIS file on Junker, as on all the other Eurofederalists, how he can face being in the same room as them i don’t know.

    • Conway

      Basically, they are his sort of people.

  • spen68

    I’ve been wondering the same thing. Having gone all in there is nothing to gain from trying to get on his good side.. from now on he’s committed to a relationship involving lots of argument. That needn’t be a bad thing. Play it right and we can use this to advantage.

  • Hamburger

    Mr Junker will have to work with Mr Cameron, otherwise his presidency will be a disaster for him and his ideas. On the other hand……

  • rolandfleming

    Here on the continent, most people I talk to have already (prematurely or perhaps even mistakenly) factored the Brexit into their thinking. It’s already assumed (bizarrely, as the very occurrence of a 2017 referendum is far from certain, and even then, assuming an exit vote, it’ll take some years to effect the transition). Nevertheless, for them, there is nothing to negotiate: the attitude is: “if the UK are leaving, they should stop making a fuss and get on with it so we can carry on with our plans”. Why make concessions to the UK if they are pulling in exactly the opposite direction and are going to leave anyway? I’m pretty sure this line of thinking is reflected in current decision making in the EC. I’m sure Juncker feels the same: “Cameron? I’ll be around much longer than him!”

    • Makroon

      You are evidently talking to the wrong people. The Lisbon treaty is explicit in allowing like-minded countries to pursue their dreams, as indeed they are.
      The “negotiations” would be about some practical reforms and (optimistically) some derogations for the UK (which will be promptly surrendered by the next Labour government).

    • Roger Hudson

      Around?, if his liver hold up.

  • Greenslime

    Easy. Just get on with it. If Juncker or the Commission is deliberately difficult and/or obstructive, shine the light on it for all to see. The full benefit of open publicity will allow the British people decide whether these are the people who we really want to stay in the club with, or go our own way.

    Someone should also speak with the guy who suggested to the Today programme that we should wake up and smell the coffee. He darkly suggested that if we chose to exit the club, the 50% of our exports which go to EU countries would have nowhere to go. As we import much more from the EU than we export to it, he might remember that that threat is obviously two sided and weighted in our favour.

    • Blindsideflanker

      The 50% trade figure is debatable, but as that represents 13% of our economic activity, it is madness to have 87% of our economy being dictated by the 13%.

    • echo34

      There’s also the rotterdam scam which is part of those “exports”.

  • Peter Stroud

    Good luck to Cameron. I watched Ed-the weak-Miliband giving his reaction to the PM’s stand. Labour do not want Juncker either, but Cameron should have made alliances, not gone it alone. I thought he had the support of Mrs Merkel, just a few weeks ago. Surely that was thought to be the alliance to beat all alliances, but she reneged on the deal. Cameron is right to stand firm on this issue. If he can work with Clegg, he can work with anyone.

    • Tony_E

      He had a blocking minority. As soon as Merkel jumped ship, the others went with her.

      It’s a demonstration of what Lady Thatcher warned about with the reunification of Germany – that it would become dominant and the other countries of Europe would simply bow to the winning side regardless of principle, leaving Britain once again standing alone against German interests.

      • Roger Hudson

        Once Britain leaves ( it must be when not if, look at the polls) the remainder will be led by Germany even more deeply than now.

    • Makroon

      According to Ms Hardman, the lovely Angela Eagle thinks Red could negotiate much more effectively than Cameron – presumably, for more “social policy” bureaucracy, bigger EU budgets, more “freedom of movement” and surrender of the British rebate. That should work.

      Interesting to read Fraser’s piece in the DT today, not a mention of why his hero, the “centre-right radical” and bold and steadfast Mr Fredrik Reinfeldt should have hastily decided to support Juncker, after a disapproving glance from his dominatrix.

    • lakelander

      He’s shown Merkel up. I bet she feels a teeny little bit of embarrassment.

  • dado_trunking

    “How will Cameron work with Juncker?”

    Don’t. Be a better Farage than Farage and reap the rewards in September and May.

    • Conway

      Dave can’t out Farage Farage. Unlike Cameron, Nigel isn’t a closet europhile.

  • Kitty MLB

    Milipede says that Cameron should be trying to build alliances
    in Europe and find a way of working with Juncker who Cameron
    profoundly disagrees with, why?
    Is this because Milipede is aware that this situation with
    Juncker and those fools within the EU ( who call it the greedy
    beast of Brussels)who also support the Juncker and even
    closer union, will make it easier for us to leave after
    the referendum.

    • Tony_E

      No, he doesn’t think that far ahead. It’s just a stick to beat Cameron with.

      However little I thin of the current Conservative party and its leadership, who show very little political nouse sometimes – Miliband is nothing more than a shameless and unprincipled opportunist without an original thought in his head. As PM, he would be a worse disaster than even Brown, who at least had the benefit of a sharp intellect to marry with his politically obnoxious instincts.

  • global city

    Some useful information in these reports… will Isabel and the rest of the MSM folk take notice?

  • Andy

    Quite simple. He should get tough, grow a pair. We should refuse to cooperate with things we do not agree with. We should withhold cash. I would start by passing an Act of Supremacy so any EU Law, Rule, Directive is subject to the will of Parliament. The UK is the second largest state in the EU. That gives you huge power. Use it.

  • Bonkim

    Do your sums on the impact of leaving the EU – and plan ahead for life after.

    • global city
      • Bonkim

        World economy has been evolving over the decades, and markets and trading balance shifting more in the last few years with the massive shift in consumption and economic power to the East – countries like China, and India. Historic data on trade with the EU since 1970 is therefore not a good indicator of the future. Britain is also a good market for EU products and the rationale can work both ways. Britain is no longer a production economy exporting cars or machinery such as Germany still is.

        The decision to remain in the EU or not will depend on factors other than the economic case for remaining. Cost of staying or leaving is not just in terms of trade balance but other intangible issues such as subsidiarity of Parliament, British institutions, etc, etc.

        People don’t live by bread alone.

  • Tony_E

    The name of the game will now be ‘avoiding a treaty’ and trying to illegally move decision making away from the full council and towards the Euro group.

    Junker will be fully behind this, I suspect that they will play the long game and wait until after the GE, Miliband will be much easier to deal with.

    • Andy

      Quite. The Europeans only follow treaties and EU Law when it suits them. Two can play at that game.

      • Makroon

        Many can play that game – but not the UK, we don’t do things like that, (unless the US makes a special request, of course).

    • Roger Hudson

      That is why Cameron must bring the referendum forward to May 2015 and stuff Miliband for ever.

      • Conway

        It would, but he won’t (and I wouldn’t vote for Dave even if he did).

  • XH558

    I suppose that his first act will be to sign the cheque for that extra £500M the Commission has recently demanded (if he has not done so already). Then he can support retention of the European Arrest Warrant as a further token of our subservience. None of the faux outrage will find practical expression.

  • paul rivers

    If you look at how the EU has dealt with the Euro crisis ( ie crisis after crisis and putting off difficult decisions, fudge etc), it is difficult to see how they re institutionally capable of negotiating effectively with the UK, Junker or anyone else.

    • Makroon

      An “agreement” is possible, but would you trust Juncker, Merkel and co. to actually implement it ?
      Clue – think Blair’s rebate surrender.

  • Blindsideflanker

    Typical defeatism of the British media , why shouldn’t it be ‘how will Juncker work with Cameron’, why shouldn’t they be the ones to have to accommodate us, rather than us having to bow and scape to them?

    I was interested to see how the Uruguayans responded to Suarez incident, which was basically screw you, and then went to the airport to welcome Suarez home. If the same happened here (remember Beckham being sent off) we would be met with an orgy of righteous self loathing.

    Knowing that the British media will attack their own country and always see them in the wrong, all our foreign competitors have to do is sit back and wait for the self loathing so weaken Britain’s position they know we will have to cut a deal on their terms. For once can we have a bit of ‘ screw you’ from our side. You never know, if we aren’t burdened down by self loathing and resolutely fought for our own interests we might just get things to come round to more of or liking.

    • Kitty MLB

      Its not just the defeatism of the British media. But how other
      parties don’t put their thoughts about Cameron aside.
      Like Milipede who says Cameron should be building
      alliances instead of leading us towards the exit.
      And UKIP who wants us to leave the EU but will not put
      their feelings aside and support Cameron against Juncker
      and the might of the EU.
      UKIP just don’t realise that the electorate would respect that,
      they know that parties feelings in regards to the other.

      • Adrian Drummond

        Therefore by your logic, Cameron and the Conservatives should also give full backing and support to UKIP’s Farage (the largest UK party in the EU) in Europe too…

        • Conway

          Instead of the Tories scrabbling round to try to prevent UKIP forming a group to enable them to get funding. Very supportive, that.

      • Makroon

        As we have just seen, the only person who can “build alliances” in Europe is Merkel, just as she can break any other alliance.
        In the immortal words, it is a “German racket”.
        France has long since retired hurt – Sarkozy prepared the ground, and Hollande is reducing France to the status of Spain.

      • Blindsideflanker

        Cameron hasn’t exactly gone out of his way to mend fences with the EUsceptics he has abused .

  • Adrian Drummond

    Isabel, you should know that this is more about Cameron’s fear of UKIP than any newly conjured up principles

    • Kitty MLB

      Oh dear, how sad , and such delusions of grandeur as usual.
      The Prime Minister has a job to do and it says alot about
      UKIP if they don’t support the Prime Minister in not supporting Juncker. Party before Country.

      • Adrian Drummond

        I’m afraid you’re addressing a point I never made.

        • Kitty MLB

          Indeed you were not making a point, just a
          Snide little remark or two.And I am sure you’d
          like Cameron to support Juncker so you could
          flap you little kippery fins together and be
          pleased, in the same way Milipede would be pleased.

          • Adrian Drummond

            i think you’d get further if you actually addressed my point rather than just making snide remarks and assumptive accusations

Can't find your Web ID? Click here