The new leader of the European Parliament’s biggest political party has said David Cameron’s attempt to block the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission is doomed to failure.
Manfred Weber, chairman of the conservative European People’s Party (EPP), said he met David Cameron in Downing Street at the end of last week and told the British Prime Minister that the UK is fighting a losing battle.
“I… tried to convince him about the proposal that this is a good step and a good way and a good direction,” Weber, leader of the biggest grouping in the European Parliament, told BuzzFeed. “There are different perspectives. He sees it in a different way.”
“My expectation is that [national leaders] will nominate Jean Claude Juncker as candidate and then we could vote in the European Parliament on the 15th of July. And I am sure there will be a big majority in the European Parliament.”
The Prime Minister has led a campaign against the appointment of former Luxembourg Prime Minister Juncker to the European Commission. Cameron still hopes to block the appointment of Juncker, who the Prime Minister believes is a pro-EU insider who will block any attempt to reform the workings of the EU.
But Weber believes Juncker has a democratic mandate to take over as leader because he was chosen as the EPP’s favoured candidate for European Commission President before May’s European Elections.
As a result the MEP, who leads the largest group in the European Parliament, suggested the battle against Juncker’s appointment is over and Cameron is in denial about the result.
Instead the leader of the EPP grouping said he is already planning for negotiations with a Juncker-led European Commission: “I think we have to look when there is no agreement possible, then the next step is we have to have a look on the content of our working program for the next five years. And there I see a lot of good proposals from London which we should include inside of the working program which we will negotiate with Jean Claude Junker.”
Meanwhile Sylvie Guillaume, a French MEP and outgoing vice-chair of the Socialists & Democrats grouping, said David Cameron has “backed the wrong horse” in his attempt take powers back from Brussels.
“It’s no good trying to be more Eurosceptic than the Eurosceptics. You can’t out UKIP UKIP. [Cameron] can never be more like Nigel Farage than Farage can be himself. It’s quite a damaging strategy because generally speaking, people tend to prefer the original to a copy.”