Do we have a right to try to stop Mr Juncker becoming President of the Commission?

It takes something to get Mr Clegg to say the EU should stop lecturing the UK on growth, yet that is exactly what he said yesterday about the EU’s predictable intervention in our economic policy. The EU, whose policies in Euroland produced a long and deep recession in most parts of the zone, with a late and feeble recovery so far, has presumed to tell the UK how to grow more quickly. Apparently higher taxes are part of the answer!

I write about it not because I am surprised or even shocked, but because others have suddenly woken up to a phenomenon which has been around for several years. Labour gave the EU the power to demand details of our economic policies, and for the Commission to mark our homework with a report telling us what we should be doing. Successive governments have dutifully filed copious pages of information with the EU each year, Parliament has debated these figures, and the EU has pronounced. The only conession to the UK as a non Euro member is we are not subject to EU fines for failing to comply with EU Commission recommendations and requirements on deficits and other matters in the way Euro states are. I am glad that at last others are unhappy about this needless development.

The UK government has indicated that it does not want to see Mr Juncker as the next President of the Commission. He is seen as an establishment EU candidate who will want to make further progress to full political, monetary and banking union. His supporters say the centre right federalist party grouping “won” the EU elections, and should therefore have the right to impose their candidate as President. They say for the Heads of government to come up with an alternative would be undemocratic.

This is far from the truth. The centre right grouping is the largest grouping, but it is still a minority. It has no right or ability to impose its candidate on the Parliament. Under the Treaties the power to chose rests with the Heads of government meeting as the Council of Ministers. These people are all elected, usually on much larger turnouts than the EU Parliament. The UK and others are well within their rights to try to find a different candidate if they wish.

The squabble over this post illustrates just how difficult it will be to find a consensus between so many different interests around the Council table and in the Parliament. It also underlines how difficult for the EU it is when a major country like the UK has an electorate who vote by a majority for non federalist parties who not join the main groups. EU lovers want the EU to settle down to tweedledee and tweedledum demcocracy, alternating power between centre left and centre right on an EU wide scale, when much of the power rests with the Commission and Court, and when policies show considerable continuity between the two blocs. 30% of those voting on May 22nd across the EU do not agree. Managing that minority is going to be quite a task.

The European Parliament has a right of veto on the proposed appointment by the Council of Ministers. If the two federalist groups combined to agree a candidate then they could of course continue to veto any other proposal from the Council.

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64 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Whoever we get, their views and actions will be little different from those of Mr Juncker the arch federalist anyway – we just need to get out. Alas Cameron with all his heart and soul wants to stay in and not to become a greater Switzerland by Sea (for reasons he has yet to bother to outline or even bother to think of perhaps).

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      I see it is suggested that Ken Clark is to be fired and replaced by Anna Soubry.
      I am no fan of Ken Clark with his absurd pro EU views but I think I rather prefer him. Anna Soubry is renowned for say of Nigel Farage “like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it” and saying Farage he didn’t talk facts, he talked prejudice and that the 1930s had taught Britain the dangers of xenophobia.

      It is the Tory policy of uncontrolled EU immigration (but restricting other immigration) that is clearly racist. The drug addicted, serial criminal from the EU on benefits being preferred to the highly qualified surgeon from Australia or Canada.

      What on earth is xenophobic about a fair points based system for anyone from around the world?

      Soubry will not help the party, she comes over very badly on TV. I assume she is being selected for gender balance reasons as is Cameron’s style. He should think again. Has he found “a woman” for the BBC trust yet?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        The Queen speech has vacuous Cameron think all over it. Empty, pointless and clearly designed to ignore the real issues and distract from them with green wash, fairness and equality nonsense and the likes.

        Zero carbon homes to push up the cost of new homes, make them smaller and put small very unpleasant windows in them.

        A complete con of an MP recall system that is clearly designed to prevent any recalls by the public, yet pretend the government have done something.

        Plastic bags to cost 5p (this often means people just buy lots of the heavier, more plastic using bags so does it really help anything at all)

        More attacks on employers with increased fines if they any make any mistakes.

        More devolution to Wales so yet more lefty government overhead to carry.

        Yet you say Cameron is not a Liberal Democrat in what way exactly?

        The only real positives are the bit on shale gas (too little far too late) and some liberation of pensions. Pensions which Osborne has attacked for the past four years – continuing Browns muggings.

        Oh and a (no doubt tiny) married allowance to come in – at the very last moment just before Labour get rid of it.

        • Cliff. Wokingham
          Posted June 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          Regarding the plastic bag charge……I am of the generation who always took their bags to shopping, so I will not be affected much however, there are times when I make an impulse buy and therefore, may not have taken a bag with me. I do not see I should be punished on that occasion.

          What troubles me more is the fact that I will be forced to give to a charity with out choosing to do so; when Mr Cameron announces that some of these record fines his quangos have issued are being given to various armed forces charities, again I get cheesed off; these may be good charities and we all now love our soldiers but, these fines should go into HMRC’s coffers to help reduce the deficit as should, in my opinion, these carrier bag levies.
          If I wish to donate to charity, I will choose it, not HM Government.

          Do Messrs Cameron and Clegg, see themselves as some kind of Smashy and Nicey?

          • Cliff. Wokingham
            Posted June 4, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            Should read; “……who always took their own bags to go shopping with….”

          • Lifelogic
            Posted June 5, 2014 at 12:55 am | Permalink

            The government already raises taxes (under threat of imprisonment) and uses them to support numerous “approved” and “state sector think” charities and propaganda organisations.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

          Even some interference in freely agreed zero hour contracts by the Coalition. Such absurdities and regulations are, in effect, just another tax on companies and their workers (inconveniencing them both) yet raising no tax. More pointless jobs in HR, law and the likes making everyone poorer on average.

  2. Mark B
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    “It takes something to get Mr Clegg to say the EU should stop lecturing the UK on growth . . . ”

    But he can’t. And the reason why ? Because he, and people like him, are happy to give the EU the right and the necessary powers. Of course, if it offends him that much, he could always demand that we invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and commence negotiations on the terms of our exit. But its raining outside so, I guess the ‘Little Piggy Squadron’ is grounded.

    “Apparently higher taxes are part of the answer!”

    Well, how else are we going to raise the £500 million to pay the EU. Remember that budget where, Cameron claimed he managed to reduce it, but didn’t – well certainly NOT for the UK part of the contribution.

    “Labour gave the EU the power to demand details of our economic policies . . . ”

    And the Conservatives Party lead us to into the then, EEC. Without which, we would not be here !

    “The UK government has indicated that it does not want to see Mr Juncker as the next President of the Commission.”

    Don’t worry, he won’t ! Those with an interest in these matters go elsewhere for their news. Good money says its going to be Christine Largard of IMF fame. That’ll please the Greeks, Italian etc – NOT !! Although it will not stop your leader from milking it as a victory for him and the UK. The MSM, dutifully, will play along. Just remember that it was one of your posters that let you in the know. All thanks to Dr. Richard North and EUReferendum.

    As to you second paragraph, I think you might be wrong on that. I think the rules changed after Lisbon (citation needed).

    ” . . . UK has an electorate who vote by a majority for non federalist parties . . . ”

    I am not quite sure who you mean ? ALL the parties, including the nationalist ones, are staunchly Euro-federalist. Only the Lib Dems are honest enough to say so, and you saw what the electorate thought of them for that. That’s why the two main parties either play at being Europhile or, just do not want to talk about it.

    “EU lovers want the EU to settle down to tweedledee and tweedledum demcocracy, alternating power between centre left and centre right on an EU wide scale, when much of the power rests with the Commission . . . ”

    OK. Lets play a little game here. Swap the following words: EU, with the UK. Centre-Left, with the Labour Party. Centre-Right, with the Conservatives. Commission, with Government / Executive. Do that, and you will see that there is little or no difference.

    “Managing that minority is going to be quite a task.”

    Well, you did OK with the Lib Dems. So why not ?

    Reply Over half the voters in the EU election voted for either UKIP or the Conservatives. Both these parties refuse to join a federalist grouping in the European Parliament,.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      Yes, and both do not have an exit plant to leave the EU either. Some ‘Eurosceptic’ parties.

    • Hope
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      This is a stunt playing to the crowd and this blog appears to extenuate it.

      “..the UK Government…” No, it was Cameron or at best the quad for what it appears to me to be a PR stunt. Before this we had Blaire and his sofa committee as the Government. If cabinet and government are not going to work properly, drastically cut the number of MPs who only do what they are told by the whip system or change the whip system so MPs represent their constituents.

      The Lib Dems are not a minority in government they have 50% of the say having obtained only 9% of the seats, who would negotiate such terms? Who would trust the negotiator to act on your behalf for issues of vital importance?

      This stunt is tosh along with Labour’s article about the justice system, or even the Lib Dems showing disagreement with the EU making recommendations with budget policies. After all the successive government gave the EU the power to do this! This is more about deceiving the public that the LibLab Con cartel are not whole heartedly wed to the EU project and to stem the rise of people wanting to leave the EU through voicing their choice by voting UKIP. Smears and scare tactics did not work in the EU elections so this is another approach.

      I think it was Thorneycroft in the 50s who made the comment that the public will unconsciously abandon sovereignty. We had further deceit by Heath who said those who claim the UK would lose sovereignty and independence are unjustified (sic). The deceit by politicians for the true intentions of the EU project has continued ever since.

      If parliament is sovereign and independent, Cameron/Clegg could stop talking hot air and act to take these powers/competence back. Invoke article 50. It would not matter who is in what position, let them get on with it.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        “If cabinet and government are not going to work properly, drastically cut the number of MPs who only do what they are told by the whip system…”

        Scrap our superfluous government altogether. The shocking costs of it are discussed in the previous post Cost of Government Crisis. These people should be the last to lecture others about needs for efficiency and productivity.

      • Timaction
        Posted June 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        The LibLabCon legacy Parties have lied to the British people for years over their true intentions. The EU is and always has been a political construct for ever closer union to create a superstate. Each successive treaty signed up by LabCons has been towards their goal of that superstate by stealth, hiding it and lying whilst they do so.
        It is only the UKIP cleansing agent that has exposed the truth and now we hear the disingenuous nonsense from Mr Cameron about the EU being to bossy etc. It always has been but suddenly UKIP has won the national European elections wanting to leave this non democratic costly behemoth.
        The argument is lost and its time for the legacy parties to come clean and argue their case for a united states of Europe or let us leave and take back our sovereignty, democracy, and control over who we want to live amongst us in our home! I wonder who’d win the national votes based on the truth?
        We don’t have to be in the EU to trade with it. Ask China, USA, Japan, in fact most of the world! Trade agreements only.
        You can hear the baloney already, 2 million jobs at risk, no voice at the top table, isolationists, little Englanders! All fear and uncertainty to worry the sheeple!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Half the Tory Party and its leadership want to stay in the EU, regardless of the outcome of the sham, long grass and clearly pointless negotiation.

  3. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    The needless development being a) the rights of the EU to scrutinise the UK’s economic policies or b) the concession on fines if we do not comply?

    What constitutes a majority vote in the EU ?

    Clegg although pro EU is not unaware of the political difficulties it causes.

  4. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    No – apparently we do not have a right. These new rules require Heads of State to defer to a cohort voted in by a small proportion of the electorate (a known phenomenon when the rules were devised) and the candidate was known prior to these elections.

    That the EU parliament and most of the other 27 Heads of State want this candidate says much about the direction they wish to take even after the unprecedented protest vote they have just witnessed. The “four legs” troughing at the EU top table would do well to consider the “two legs”.

    When the coalition is not listened to and Juncker is installed will we realise that the only way to negotiate is to invoke article 50?

    • Horatio McSherry
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      I hope Juncker IS elected (I use that word advisedly) and given as much air-time as he likes. Just look what happened to Clegg and the Lib-Dems after the debates; their support fell off even more dramatically than it already had. Unlike Clegg, Juncker isn’t ashamed of what the final aim if the EU politicians is and doesn’t even bother trying to finesse fact, figures and aims. Bring him on!

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Bring on Tony Blair.

        (for the same reasons.)

  5. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    You have of course every right to try and stop Mr Juncker, just as the Commission has every right (and indeed the task) to lecture countries on economic issues. Lecturing the Netherlands has been beneficial because it brings outside opinions into the political debate.

    • Richard1
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      But we don’t take lectures from or give lectures to other friendly countries around the world such as Canada or Australia, why should it be different with the EU?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 4, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        @Richard1: Because you and me (i.e. your and my country) have agreed that together with all the others in our Single Market. I feel represented by my country, do you?

        • APL
          Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:31 am | Permalink

          PvL: “Because you and me (i.e. your and my country) have agreed that together with all the others in our Single Market.”

          Because the self appointed political elite in my country, and the self appointed political elite in your country colluded together on the best way to divvy up the wealth of our respective nations between them, instead of looting they call it political union.

          PvL: “our Single Market”

          You gotta be joking? Tell me you are making fun of us Peter.

          OUR Single Market’!

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

          It’s to do with the single currency, not the single market.

    • Mike Stallard
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Peter, we both know that the EU is determined to have “More Europe”. This means, according to Guy Verhofstadt to take just one example, one big country of Europe, one flag, one President, one army… I hope that I needn’t produce all the evidence.

      How would you feel personally if we Brits entered the EFTA and the EEC and withdrew from the EU?

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

        @Mike Stallard: Guy Verhofstad is only one opinion. There is a whole spectrum of opinions about the direction of the EU.
        You (UK) created EFTA in 1960, in response to the EEC, and you decided to abandon it in 1973. I would be quite o.k. with you returning to EFTA (trade relations will continue), but I would prefer the UK to stay with the EU, and I think that such is possible (e.g. a referendum could result in “In”)

    • libertarian
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Peter

      Its a shame that the EU doesn’t feel the same as you and that “outside” opinion is beneficial to the political debate. The EU aren’t remotely interested in what anyone thinks especially its own citizens as not only does the EU ignore all advice it even ignores democratic votes that don’t produce the results it wants. The EU is a busted flush and needs to be consigned to history. If only there was a visionary leader that could articulate a new future and relationship for the nation states of the continent of Europe. Sadly all we get is dull, moribund, career politicians telling us that if we don’t vote for them the “others” will get in. How devoid of leadership we are.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian: I believe the EU does receive outside opinions (IMF, OECD and others) and had already responded positively to a citizens’ initiative recently. All the national egos (Merkel, Cameron, Hollande) and national pride stand in the way of a visionary leader. I also don’t think that any of the spitzenkandidaten properly reflects the outcome of the elections. Unless they prove so with a new programme.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        The EU even ignores its own “legally binding” rules on no bail outs within the Euro area.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      We don’t like being bossed around by an unelected Commission and we don’t like being bossed around by Germans. Why do you find it so difficult to grasp such a simple point?

      And when the IMF also tries to boss us around we won’t like that either, because it is being directed by an EU place woman and Euro fanatic.

      Why don’t they all f-fade away?

  6. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Which all goes to show that the only power that matters is the Council of Ministers. The recent MEP elections are largely irrelevant and merely a pretence of democracy.

    The more one understands how the EU works the less appealing it becomes. The more one realises how little say voters have as to the rules that govern their lives the more the desire to have nothing to do with the inherently undemocratic EU.

    Managing the growing dissatisfaction is indeed going to be quite a task. But a task the UK can simply walk away from, and should.

  7. Nick
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    So when it comes to the job, dictating to us, you would rather have Cameron et al appoint their mates, rather than let the electorate have the job.

    Same as the Lords. No democracy what so ever. Just political mates appointed as dictators.

  8. formula57
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    The right to stop Mr Juncker exists, legally, politically and morally, but is that the proper question? Should we not ask instead whether although we can, should we exercise it to that end? Perhaps not, on the ground allegedly advanced by the Prime Minister that Mr Juncker’s appointment would make more likely and hasten Brexit and on the more compelling ground that to do so would be cruel for it would make harsh reality enter the gilded, rarefied world of the eurocrat and puncture some of their grand illusions about the European project.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Pretty much my own thoughts. The EU does seem to have a wonderful ability to keep shooting itself in the foot when it comes to ensuring the UK’s continued membership of the UK. Lecturing us on our economic policy simply makes them look as ridiculous as they really are. (Are there parallels here with the threats being made to ward off a ‘Yes’ vote in Scotland?)
      The selection of Mr Juncker should , with bit of luck, hasten a referendum on the EU.
      I understand that the PM would ‘welcome’ Madame Lagarde becoming president of the EU. Given the fact that she chose to lecture us about the ‘auterity’ programme, can we really trust her economic credentials?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        As she was a party to eurozone bailouts and later admitted:

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

        the answer is that she cannot be trusted an inch.

  9. Neil Craig
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    ” want the EU to settle down to tweedledee and tweedledum demcocracy”

    Johnny Foreigner taking all this time to learn to do what the British ruling class have managed for a century.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Indeed except we have the centre left light and the centre left heavy. There is nothing much right wing about Cameron, Major or Heath whatsoever. Even Lady Thatcher failed to cut the state sector and taxes back properly.

      Right wing I use in the sense of liberty, freedom, smaller more efficient government, self government, less endless interference or market distortions and far lower taxes.

    • A different Simon
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Looking more like a choice between Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber to me .

      You can’t negotiate with these people because they don’t believe in democracy or the rule of Law – Mr Junker is one of the few that openly admits it .

      I can’t understand why Mr Cameron is so intent on staying in .

      • bigneil
        Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        Probably hoping to fully deliver a whole nation to be destroyed, in return for a job in the EU HQ. Taking this once wonderful country back to Lords and serfs.

  10. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    JR: “Apparently higher taxes are part of the answer!”
    Your party agrees ; not content with the 299 tax increases already implemented, today’s Queen’s Speech we are told will include the enforcement of a 5p charge on plastic bags. I wonder if this complies with your wish for a “light” Queen’s Speech. No doubt you will support this despite all the talk.
    As for the next President of the EU commission, we are witnessing play acting. Whoever is appointed it will be business as usual. No doubt Cameron is looking for someone who will join in with his charade when/if he ever renegotiates our membership of this diabolical organisation. Having made it clear that, whatever the EU response, he will endeavour to keep us in, he will be looking for someone with the requisite acting and duplicitous abilities to help him con the British people to remain imprisoned in the EU, just as Wilson did in 1975, ably supported by the vast majority of the Parliamentary Conservative party.

  11. mick
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Thought i read some were that if Mr Juncker was elected Mr Cameron would call a early in/out EU referendum !!

  12. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    John – Do you have a preferred candidate to Mr Juncker who has a reasonable chance of winning and who would reflect your views ? If not I’d suggest that the arch-federalist Mr Juncker would be an excellent choice as he would increase the chances of UK leaving – only Tony Blair would be a better choice in that respect.

    • waramess
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Cameron’s resistence to Juncker is nothing to do with Juncker being a federalist and more to do with the fact that Juncker will not be willing to portray a failed Cameron renegotiation as a success.

      In much the same way as Heath did, Cameron is aware that his plea to renegotiate will fall on deaf ears and that his only hope will be to return with a illusiory package that might quieten critics.

      As for Cameron holding an early referendum if Juncker is appointed, the proverbial snowball would stand a far better chance in hell and the EU know it.

      The entire fabric of the EU is federalistic and was never meant to be otherwise. An Empire is in the process of being built.

      Lets hope Juncker wins; at least it will flush out Cameron publicly, once and for all.

  13. mick
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Good morning Mr Redwood, can you please answer me this question, after May 2017 would we need approval of the other EU countries to leave the EU, if the answer is yes then surely the promised November 2017 referendum is a sweetener and bribe to get re-elected knowing full well we don`t have chance of leaving the EU after November 2017

    Reply Of course we do not need their -permission to leave. We will need their agreement to new arrangements for trade/airlinks/pipelines etc

    • Hope
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      Actually I think we do. It is an item that is voted on by QMV.

      • Sebastian Weetabix
        Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        As a fully armed sovereign state, we can do whatever we like.

  14. acorn
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Are we not mixing up the “Council of Ministers”, (the “Council of the European Union”; or nowadays they just call it “The Council”); with the “European Council”, (heads of member States; non-executive but politically supreme). With the “EU Commission” acting as the executive.

    The EU “legislature” is bicameral. The Council of Ministers is our equivalent of the House of Lords (but much more powerful, like a Senate). The European Parliament is our equivalent of the House of Commons. ………………….. I think.

    So, yes; we have just as much right as the Treaties say we have, 29 out of 352 QMV votes, assuming they use that system.

  15. Bert Young
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    The tentacles of the EU reach deeper and deeper into our affairs – it is now working at a Local Government level suggesting changes to the rating system . Yesterday while searching Reuters for the extreme fall in the value of shares , I was drawn to the image of Mr. Barrosso over -viewing the state of our economy and advocating a ” Robin Hood ” solution to our economic woes . At the same time I looked up what was happening to unemployment figures throughout Europe and , surprise surprise , the situation has worsened virtually everywhere except in the UK ! . So much for EU advice and guidance . UKIP must be laughing their socks off !. PvL take note !.

  16. Dave B
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I do not accept the assertion that the Conservative Party is ‘non federalist’. They want more powers passed from the UK to the EU.

    The Telegraph reports that there will be a vote on passing powers over Justice and Home Affairs to the EU on July 22nd.

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/benedictbrogan/100260182/the-next-tory-plot-to-embarrass-david-cameron-on-europe-is-already-taking-shape/

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Dave,
      The Conservative party’s arch EUphile, Ken Clarke, on Channel 4 News on Monday confirmed clearly and unambiguously that the Conservative party has always been a pro-EU party.

  17. oldtimer
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Spiegelonline has a couple of articles on the political shenanigans behind the Juncker bid for the presidency. It seems clear that Cameron`s objection, and Merkel`s hesitation in supporting him, has produced a mini crisis in the EUrocracy. What was striking about the articles and the Spiegel editorial on the future of UK`s membership (like it and lump it or get out) was the complete disconnect between the views and perceptions they expressed in it and the reality on the ground in the UK.

    The so-called presidential election falls into the same category. It did not even take place in the UK – I do not recall any candidates names on any ballot paper. So to call it democratic is farcical.

    Nevertheless it seems we are witnessing a fundamental battle between the EU parliament and the council of ministers. If Juncker gets the support that Spiegel says he has among members of the council then we are in for a very interesting few weeks. I have no idea what the outcome will be. But it seems to me that, in this febrile atmosphere, the chances of significant concessions to the UK are remote.

  18. Posted June 4, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I heard Jack Straw on the BBC this morning saying it’s not official Labour policy but he would like to see elected politicians seconded from National Parliaments acting as MEPs.

    That would have saved Labour the embarassment of the recent election and would have conveniently disposed of the UKIP problem, wouldn’t it ?

    At the same time it would guarantee that UK representation in the European Parliament would almost always consist of a majority of pro-EU members. ( Labour and LibDem ).

    Of course, he said it would also be awfully democratic !

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Boris Johnson said the same thing in an article in the Telegraph:

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10791873/Theres-a-simple-solution-to-this-Euro-elections-sham.html

      “We could decide, now, that we were going to change the electoral basis on which we send representatives to Strasbourg. Instead of holding these ludicrous pseudo-elections, where nobody knows who the hell they are voting for, we should appoint the British delegation of 73 from our already sizeable stock of parliamentarians. Yes: let them be Westminster MPs – not picked by the whips, but by lot and with the seats roughly proportional to the parties’ representation in Westminster. There is no reason why MPs should not take on this duty: they are well used to sitting on Bill committees. They have the time.”

      Presumably for the same reason, that with the MPs being elected by First Past The Post and then the MEPs chosen from among the MPs in that way it is much less likely there would be any UKIP MEPs for the foreseeable future.

      Unfortunately for both of them it is perfectly clear that their preferred system would not be allowed under the present EU treaties.

  19. Horatio McSherry
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    John, I hope Mr. Juncker does become the President of the European Commission: he’ll be the best recruiting sergent the “Out” campaign will have!

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    “Labour gave the EU the power to demand details of our economic policies … ”

    No, either that was John Major, as part of the “Game set and match for Britain” that he achieved during his negotiations on the Maastricht Treaty, or just possibly but much less likely it was Margaret Thatcher with her Single European Act.

    The EU Commission cite Article 121 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as the first legal basis for producing their report, and the text of that is almost identical to the Article 103 that was introduced with the Maastricht Treaty.

    This link is to what was then called the “codified” version of the Treaty establishing the European Community, dated August 1992:

    http://old.eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:11992E/TXT:EN:HTML

    “Article 103

    1. Member States shall regard their economic policies as a matter of common concern and shall coordinate them within the Council, in accordance with the provisions of Article 102a.

    2. The Council shall, acting by a qualified majority on a recommendation from the Commission, formulate a draft for the broad guidelines of the economic policies of the Member States and of the Community, and shall report its findings to the European Council.

    The European Council shall, acting on the basis of the report from the Council, discuss a conclusion on the broad guidelines of the economic policies of the Member States and of the Community.

    On the basis of this conclusion, the Council shall, acting by a qualified majority, adopt a recommendation setting out these broad guidelines. The Council shall inform the European Parliament of its recommendation.

    3. In order to ensure closer coordination of economic policies and sustained convergence of the economic performances of the Member States, the Council shall, on the basis of reports submitted by the Commission, monitor economic developments in each of the Member States and in the Community as well as the consistency of economic policies with the broad guidelines referred to in paragraph 2, and regularly carry out an overall assessment.

    For the purpose of this multilateral surveillance, Member States shall forward information to the Commission about important measures taken by them in the field of their economic policy and such other information as they deem necessary.

    4. Where it is established, under the procedure referred to in paragraph 3, that the economic policies of a Member State are not consistent with the broad guidelines referred to in paragraph 2 or that they risk jeopardizing the proper functioning of economic and monetary union, the Council may, acting by a qualified majority on a recommendation from the Commission, make the necessary recommendations to the Member State concerned. The Council may, acting by a qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, decide to make its recommendations public.

    The President of the Council and the Commission shall report to the European Parliament on the results of multilateral surveillance. The President of the Council may be invited to appear before the competent Committee of the European Parliament if the Council has made its recommendations public.

    5. The Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 189c, may adopt detailed rules for the multilateral surveillance procedure referred to in paragraphs 3 and 4 of this Article.”

    The only uncertainty is about what the treaties had said before Article 103 was inserted as one of the amendments made by the Maastricht Treaty, but I’m pretty confident that these were new provisions connected with the plan for the EU to start issuing its own currency, the euro, which plan Major could have vetoed but didn’t.

  21. forthurst
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    “It also underlines how difficult for the EU it is when a major country like the UK has an electorate who vote by a majority for non federalist parties who not join the main groups.”

    We have a coalition government drawn from two parties of which the Eurosceptics have zero representation and the Europhiles take up the slack. It is perfectly true that the Tory party contains a hard core of Eurosceptic recidivists, however as can be seen from this table on the Bruges Group website of MPs’ voting history, the Conservatives, as a group, are more Europhile than Labour. (That JR is outperformed by Peter Bone is probably not a matter of commitment, but one of style, insofar as JR often abstains on issues with which he disagrees, but on which he is certain his vote would have an immaterial effect on the outcome).

    http://www.brugesgroup.com/mpwatch/index.live

    Perhaps it is time for the Eurosceptics who are not in the coalition party of government to strike out on their own as a group?

    Incidentally, why are people with EU pensions allowed to keep it with strings of loyalty attached, whilst purporting to serve in a purportedly independent House of Commons?

    • a-tracy
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Incidentally, why are people with EU pensions allowed to keep it with strings of loyalty attached, whilst purporting to serve in a purportedly independent House of Commons?

      Well this should come out at Election time and if UKIP candidates cant make hay with that against ex MEP candidates in British elections they don’t deserve to be taken seriously.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Firstly we should recall at on November 4th 2009 Cameron agreed to all of the changes to the EU treaties which would be made by the amending Treaty of Lisbon, including among many others a new provision that the European Council must take into account the results of the elections to the EU Parliament before proposing somebody to become the President of the EU Commission.

    So if he is to act in good faith it only becomes a question of how he wants the European Council to take the results of those elections into account; he cannot say that they should simply be ignored.

    Secondly we should recall that Cameron has said that he wants radical treaty changes to “transform” the EU into something which might be acceptable to the British people, but it is the governments of the EU member states which have the final say on changes to their treaties, not the EU Commission nor the EU Parliament, and for the achievement of his publicly stated objective it would actually make very little difference whether the new President of the EU Commission was a raging eurofederalist or somebody else who was more sympathetic to his aspirations.

  23. The PrangWizard
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I am watching your intervention in the House and I wish to say as soon as I possibly can and in the only way I can that I am delighted and grateful to you for speaking for England, and for doing so emphatically, and not only on England. It was a great speech, I hope it gets the widest possible coverage. I am glad I caught it. Thank you. I will tell as many people as possible, and for those like me who comment on the subject here, please find it and read it.

    Reply Thank you. I will post it tomorrow here.

  24. Terry
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    John, you write as you see, – through those rose tinted…
    Clegg has NOT changed his spots – he has, unsurprisingly and deliberately, changed his tactics.

    He and his LibDems practice this devious fudge each day on the hustings. They always say what people what to hear, in order to gain their votes. They do not care that they, many times, contradict their own manifesto, as long as they gain those votes.
    Clegg and co took a big hit last month and this is his Plan “A”, the road to recovery to re-establish the party in time for 2015. He is saying what the people want to hear, despite it being contrary to his own principles. Votes are more important that principles.

    So, I am very surprised that Dave has given Clegg a platform with these proposals and also added him as a contributor in the Queen’s Speech. That makes me even more alarmed at Mr Cameron’s intentions for next year.

    The LibDems have always held back the manifesto listed Conservative programmes and at times, run down their fellow Tory Cabinet Ministers in public. Without redress, it seems. Now it appears he is there to encourage more of the same. Are you, true blue back benchers, going to tolerate that?

    Nobody, and I mean, nobody, voted for a coalition in 2010 but that is what we were lumbered with. That is not proper democracy is it? And I have not met a Conservative who voted for a liberal, as leader of the party.
    Cameron is too Heath-like for comfort and Mr Heath is infamous for the damage he did to this country with his duplicitous promotion of the European Common Market. No sir, I do not want anymore of the same and will expect a much harder anti-LibDem line from Mr Cameron in the run up to May 2015. Or he can count me, out

    To paraphrase the saying, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” I say to all voters, “Beware of LibDems, making sense, its just an illusion”.

  25. matthu
    Posted June 4, 2014 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    The UK government has indicated that it does not want to see Mr Juncker as the next President of the Commission. He is seen as an establishment EU candidate who will want to make further progress to full political, monetary and banking union.

    The whole ‘battle’ over Mr Juncker has been dreamed up in order to give Mr Cameron the appearance of some sort of victory: Mr Juncker was never a serious contender.

    If they appoint another ‘damp rag’ allowing Nigel Farage to introduce his or her credentials to the world … that would not do the Europhiles any good.

    So that is why it is far more likely that a well-known person will be appointed – perhaps Christine Lagarde, although Tony Blair would dearly love the challenge (pity about the Chilcot Report though).

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted June 4, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Matthu – interesting post. Whatever ones views this is an interesting point.

      The rather impressive Dutch MEP on Newsnight hinted at this last night and I have seen it suggested elsewhere that it could be Martin Shulz who would command more of a majority in the EP than Junker. Hollande would prefer Shulz and of course he is German which may assist Merkel. Maybe Cameron knows this and hence the outburst and then the so-called victory. Of course this would be no victory at all in reality as Schulz is far more critical of the UK stance than Junker. However as always Cameron could take advantage of the astonishing lack of awareness and interest in this issue by the British public (these pages aside of course) and present it as a victory.

  26. peter davies
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    In reality I doubt it makes little difference who gets the job – they all appear to come from the same swamp be they left or right leaning.

    The best way forward in my view would be to elevate EFTA as the primary trade only organization in the EEA, the UK leaves the EU and let them get on with their thing.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      I think it does make a difference to the UK who gets the job for the reason that Schulz is far less sympathetic to the Cameron renegotiation. In this he is backed by the former Chancellor Schroeder who really is anti Cameron. From a personal view I would be delighted therefore if Schulz got it.

  27. Vanessa
    Posted June 5, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    If you read EUReferendum dot com you will see a piece on the fact that Christine Legarde is the person who is actually has the support of Merkel and will become the next President and Juncker was a decoy.

    Shame nobody in the main stream MEDIA knew this, just shows how ignorant and dishonest they all are.

    • yulwaymartyn
      Posted June 5, 2014 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Shall we see in due course who is right? Its probably a bit early to castigate the entire mainstream press because they differ from the EUReferendum.com stance.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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