Coffee House

What’s the fuss about Juncker? Better a drunken, useless federalist than an effective, sober one

5 June 2014

5:17 PM

5 June 2014

5:17 PM

David Cameron is surely right to think that Jean-Claude Juncker is not the man to relieve the European Union’s woes, but I wonder if it is worth a fight. It reminds me of a similar battle by John Major, in 1994, to prevent a fat Belgian called Jean-Luc Dehaene from getting the job, on the grounds that he was too federalist. The post then duly went to Jacques Santer — like M. Juncker, a Luxembourgeois with an alleged fondness for alcohol (he was known as ‘Sancerre’). M. Santer was no better, from the British point of view, than M. Dehaene, and some European diplomatic chips were pointlessly used up.

Given Mr Cameron’s stated wish for a move away from integration, it is impossible to imagine a candidate for the presidency of the Commission who would fit his bill. Wouldn’t it be better to accept M. Juncker, who is generally regarded as stale and unimpressive, than to try to get someone able, like Christine Lagarde? Mrs Thatcher made a similar mistake when she endorsed Jacques Delors. Now, touted by Peter Mandelson, along comes the dangerously able Pascal Lamy, once Delors’ right-hand man.


GoveThis is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator’s Notes in this week’s magazine. Click here to read for free with a trial of The Spectator app for iPad and iPhone. You can also subscribe with a free trial on the Kindle Fire.


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  • PG

    There needs to be new politicians and political parties in the EU , and ones that will listen to the people who elect them and not to the financial and business sectors , which is verging on corruption .

  • PG

    Largarde is useless , and was like that in France , Junkers is just an old ultra-conservative EU politician who has not had a creative idea in decades and is no example to anyone . He has been living off the EU and making a mess of his country for decades .

  • Zool

    Under British law the appointment of Juncker & the
    back door power grab to the European Parliament
    would shift power from national governments to the European Parliament
    without UK voters approval. This will automatically trigger a referendum in the
    UK under the 2011 LAW brought in by the collation. This is why Cameron was so
    opposed to the power grab by Brussels as they have now forced him to give what
    he & all the other PRO-EU party’s in the UK have been trying to prevent a
    referendum not in in 2017 but NOW.

  • Fergus Pickering

    The top guys in Europe usually come from insignificant countries and Luxemburg is the most insignificant. Portugal, Ireland, Belgum… Oh I forgot. We gave them Lady Ashton, a complete nonentity over here. Local Government, was it?

  • Phil_Aterly

    Charles Moore misses Cameron’s motivation. In reality he couldn’t care less which federalist is chosen as his very public intervention was simply for political home consumption to appear falsely a sceptic during the Newark byelection to counter the Kipper vote.

  • global city

    I hope the MSM will be on guard to thoroughly investigate the leanings of who ever IS chosen?

    Fat chance. If Cameron wishes them to be seen as UK friendly the MSM will line up to do just that.

    Janet Daly understands the whole situation more than most.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/10882642/The-brave-British-abhor-uniformity.html

  • Tom

    If the EU wants to be federalist, then it should get together and design a federalist system – then put it to the public (not a half way house like the Lisbon Treaty)

    Where is this design going to come from? The EU needs a Jefferson, not a Juncker

    http://www.thelaymansterms.com/forget-juncker-europe-needs-jefferson/

    • Fergus Pickering

      Complete with slaves, eh?

  • Mike Raymond Wood

    Europe is stuck is some tedious halfway house neither democratically federalist (a la The US) nor a collection of democratic sovereign states (something like the EU before the Euro). Moreover to quote Macbeth in blood/Stepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more,/Returning were as tedious as go o’er. There just ain’t the clarity of vision or the will (and possibly not even the possibility) of turning into a viable political entity. I am pretty unimpressed with Junckers but I doubt whether things will change much whether he gets in or not.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Thank God for that. The EU as a political entity is too ghastly to contemplate. A Federal state with twenty different languages eh? Lots of jobs for translators of endless bumph though.

  • Mynydd

    Why be surprised, Mr Cameron usually gets things wrong.

  • swatnan

    What annoys me is that we are getting minor medicocrities filling what should be a prestigious and high profile job which will forge the European Union and push the federal cause forward. Appropriate today on the 70 Anniversary of D Day … Never Again. We should be applauding Nations Working Together, not fighting each other. That is what the EU is about. Many people do not know Luxembourg and confuse it with Lictenstein na Liebfraumilch.

  • roger

    Junkers, the man who said it was alright to lie to get the result he wanted. He was also the first to tell Eire to vote again on the Lisbon treaty until they gave the right answer. He is total pondlife.(sorry, being rude to tadpoles and green slime).

  • HookesLaw

    If Cameron thinks he is no good then it doesn’t matter if the rest are not much better. He should oppose his appointment. Just because you may not succeed is no reason not to try. Just because some people may allegedly not agree with us is no readon not to state our views. Does Mr Moore want us in the eu? His argument seems for us not to be in, and we might as well not be if we are to take no interest.
    Being in the EEA would mean still obeying single market rules but rid of the tiresome bidding politicking and voting that real members have to go through.

    • Wessex Man

      Well then, Mr moore is a nice man.

  • Denis_Cooper

    As for Lagarde, let’s just remember that she was a party to eurozone bailouts which she knew damn well were illegal under the EU treaties, as she openly admitted in an with the WSJ in December 2010:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704034804576025681087342502.html

    “We violated all the rules because we wanted to close ranks and really rescue the euro zone.”

    Is that the sort of zero-integrity person you would want as a parish councillor,
    let alone as the President of the EU Commission?

    • rtj1211

      I’ve seen it happen in many principled right wing people, you know. Power corrupts, both on the left and the right.

    • Wessex Man

      Yes let’s just leave this madhouse to the inmates!

  • Denis_Cooper

    Cameron says that he wants treaty changes to “transform” the EU into
    something that the British would find acceptable.

    But it’s down to the governments of the EU countries to agree changes to
    their treaties, they have the final word under Article 48 TEU on revision
    of the treaties.

    So in that context it would matter very little who was the President of the
    EU Commission, whether he was a raving eurofederalist or somebody
    who might be more sympathetic to what Cameron says he wants, because
    it would not be his decision.

    Of course if Cameron is really thinking that instead of the fundamental
    renegotiation of the terms of our membership involving treaty change that he
    promises he might be able to get away with a few tweaks made by secondary
    legislation then that would be a different matter, then it would matter much
    more who was the President of the EU Commission.

    • HookesLaw

      Go away again and hide your head in shame. If it’s ok for a kipper MEP to employ scores of immigrants as cheap labour because his principles are so weak he cannot be @rsed to find British labour then all Farage’s and UKIP’s posturing is a load of baloney. If a kipper MEP… a senior kipper… can employ cheap immigrant labour (saying in his defence that UKIP are not opposed to ‘all’ immigration – ho ho ho) then it’s clearly ok for everyone to. I seem to recall a govt minister resigning on a technicality on over something far less extreme.

      • Wessex Man

        calm down Hooky babe calm down, your purple prose is very foamy.

      • Denis_Cooper

        It’s difficult to see any connection between what you’ve written here and the fact that it wouldn’t be down to the President of the EU Commission to decide whether or not Cameron got the EU treaty changes he claims to want.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Who is this chap employing scores of immigrants?

      • Maggie Allen

        Its about the decipation of the British Isles. There is now NO Britain left.

  • Andy

    Of course Juncker is perfect for the job. He will make a complete and utter bugger of it – of that there is little doubt. And he is so tackless – usually one suspects because of his love of the sauce – he will stick his big foot in it quite often. Probably piss everyone off. Anyway it will help the Eurosceptic cause no end.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Oh, he’s a drunk, is he. Give him the job then. The sober men have ballsed it up utterly.

    • Maggie Allen

      Its NOT about indiviuals leading the EU. It is about the EVIL of the EU. ALL these debates are things to take us off the scent of the FASCIST EU EMPIRE.
      http://www.theeutruth.com

      • Andy

        No need to tell me dear. I have often said the EU is a Fascist construct – in the true meaning of the word. We should leave and actually we should never have joined in the first place.

  • Eyesee

    For evil to succeed, all it requires is for the good man to do nothing. So, we need to find a good man first.

    • goatmince

      For a lefty to succeed, all it requires is to split the right, at home and abroad. When even Merkel (not a lefty) will assist with that and use it to her advantage every single time, then frankly all is lost.

    • goatmince

      For a lefty to succeed, all it requires is to split the right, at home and abroad. When even Merkel (not a lefty) will assist with that and use it to her advantage every single time, then frankly all is lost.

      • Draußen besser dran

        Angela Merkel is a leftist, not even a closet leftist – a populist leftist, she is.

        • dalai guevara

          Now that is so dumm, I never read anything this dumm in my entire life. Hans-Olaf, is it you?

      • Wessex Man

        Yes let’s just leave them to it!

  • @PhilKean1

    .
    * http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2625836/C

    Cameron defends the free movement policy which allows unlimited EU immigration as “an important right”.

    * http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-ca

    In a chilling TV interview, Cameron promotes the EU, encourages pan-EU regulation, shows his enthusiasm for getting Britain included in EU trade deals and pushes for the completion of the Federal enabler that is the “Single Market”.

    – and yet Cameron’s loyalists are blind to the danger.

    This from Peter Oborne.

    * http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/peteroborne/100

    Peter thinks David Cameron made a mistake.

    No, Peter, he didn’t !
    .

    • Terence Hale

      Hi,
      Remember the Weimar Republic?

      • Andy

        Rather not if you don’t mind. I remember what came after it !

      • @PhilKean1

        Hi.

        LOL
        .

        • Terence Hale

          Hi,
          I presume LOL is the acronym for laughing out loud. Mr. Juncker is no laughing matter. Probed up by a failing Fr. Merkel who is wedged in German internal politics with a parallel to the Weimar Republic. Hr.Juncker is Fr. Merkel’s way out of a rut, and as we all know a rut is a grave with the ends dug out. Open a history book.

    • HookesLaw

      You are propagandising. Cameron said he wanted so called free movement of labour to return to its original concept that is to be free to move if you have a job. He wanted to put restrictions on coming here without a job.
      We have a newly elected kipper MEP who goes out of his way to employ low wage unskilled immigrants and you have the nerve to criticise Cameron for wanting restrictions?

      He also said that he did not want to see the UK as part of any ever closer union… a pretty important statement that some of us will not be surprised you missed out.
      Cameron also said the 2017 referendum would be held even if the negotiations were unsuccessful.

      In short Cameron’s remarks were nothing like you imply. Why shouldn’t the UK be part of EU trade deals? We would be part of them if not in the EU and in the EEA, like Norway.

      • Wessex Man

        Hooky babe, I thought you were ill not having dominated the blog for a while thanks for confirming mt thoughts.

        • Andy

          Thought he had at last been Sectioned.

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    “Why David Cameron’s got it all wrong over Jean-Claude Juncker”. You are wrong. Fr Merkel is on her “last legs” with which she hoped with her “Affirmative action” Hr. Juncker to lessen the fall. Internal problems are ripping the conservative parties apart in Germany.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Which is why the CDU/CSU won their Euro elections this year and were re-elected to government last year with an increased vote share and a large increase in their parliamentary group.

      Yep Merkel is certainly on her last legs……..

      • Wessex Man

        but has she seen them since 1989?

  • Hello

    I think you only have to look at his political style over the last couple of weeks to understand why he’d be a disaster. Juncker has only ever run a small country of wealthy individuals, he doesn’t understand the politics of broader demographics.

    He’s a bit like Brown, but remove the small amount of political nous and spice up the underhand tactics.

    • In2minds

      Oh I think you are so wrong, Gordon Brown would be ideal as the EU top man. He would piss off so many people and do so much damage within a year the EU would be ruined. Nations would have to form a queue to get out. So rather than wait for a referendum we would be carried along with the tide.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        Nice idea until you realise that with Brown at the helm the destruction would be so great we would all end up living in caves.

        • Andy

          Might be worth the risk. He would probably cause a war.

          • rtj1211

            You’d enjoy fighting in that would you?

            Or are you one of those warmongers who has a yacht in Monaco, which you will have sailed to Australia to allow you to live far away from the fighting you encouraged to happen??

            • Wessex Man

              do grow a sense of humour.

              • Andy

                The trouble with witless turds like him is that he cannot see how the insane policies of the EU are driving the whole of Europe to beggary and war.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Oh it would be a Euro war. Since the EU has no troops there would be no blood at all.

      • Hello

        Well this is actually the exact problem with people that have become ideologically eurosceptic: they’re willing to play dangerous games in order to achieve their end. What if they lose, have they thought about that?

        They’re as bad and as desperate as the europhiles.

        • Wessex Man

          erm, what idiots were there encouraging the mobs in the Ukraine which caused Putin to react?

          Whose President said after the signing of the Lisbon Treayt that he saw the EU as a Modern Day Empire?

          I don’t want any of my family to fight for an Empire of which we have no say on how it’s run, my family have lost enough people fighting two World Wars!

    • Wessex Man

      I thought you said he was like Brown.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Don’t forget, in Brown’s defence, that he and fat Balls kept us out of the Euro. Peerages for those men!

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