What difference will the appointment of Mr Juncker make?

 

I am glad David Cameron has highlighted the system for choosing the next President of the Commission, and has tried to get others to see this is an important choice for every member state of the EU. It  will have substantial effects on how they are governed in the next five years.

As a result of his intervention there has been horse trading about the policies which the EU should follow. France and Italy have demanded less austerity from Germany as the price of their agreement to Mr Juncker. The centre left will demand one of their people for the next big post.  These compromises with what any given country wants, and the permanent erosion of national democratic accountability are all part and parcel of belonging to the Euro and the EU. The new President of the Commission will be very powerful, because he will be the master of compromises between individual member states and between the Council and Parliament, driving relentlessly forward with the usual centralising agenda. At the end of this new Commission, like its predecessors, member states will have lost more  power and the EU will have gained it.

Mr Cameron has reminded every other state that the UK needs a new relationship with the increasingly centralised and EU controlled Euro area, We should not worry that the UK is “isolated” on this. It would be surprising if we were not , as the UK is in a unique position of not wanting to go into the Euro, not having to go into the Euro, and wanting a far less intrusive way of trading and being friends with the rest of the zone than is currently on offer.

To those who say Mr Cameron should not have sought to block Mr Juncker because he could not win, I say you are wrong. This episode has reminded all in the UK that the EU is not “coming our way”, the new Commission is not about to respect national Parliaments and governments, the EU is not about to become the mere  trading area some UK people thought they were voting for in 1975. The  battle over Mr Juncker was but the first skirmish in a long negotiation of a new relationship for the UK with the rest of the EU.  If the rest of the EU continue to be so unsympathetic to UK requirements, more UK voters will draw their own conclusions about the desirability of our continued membership.

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76 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    “The battle over Mr Juncker was but the first skirmish in a long negotiation of a new relationship for the UK with the rest of the EU.”

    Indeed but the problem is Cameron is basically “heart and soul” and compass is on the wrong side of nearly every issue. He is only having this skirmish as he is nearing a general election. He wishes once again to posture & pretend fool the electorate. Post election he will clear rat again and kick the voters in the teeth in the rather unlikely event of a victory. Only a 10% chance of an overall Tory majority it seems and with a small majority we would anyway have a large pro EU Tory wing (Cameron and perhaps 100+) that would stop real progress anyway.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      I see in the Times that the population surge in Britain is fastest in EU. Did Cameron not make a net migration pledge? A shame we cannot select the ones that we need and pay for themselves and from all around the World. Better build some more houses quickly especially as they are all going to live much longer too.

      http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article4131556.ece

  2. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Of course the EU as a whole is not coming your way. Even the UK government itself has stated that the eurozone needs further integration. It remains to be seen how much bad blood Cameron will have caused and how much more difficult negotiating a new relationship within or with the EU has become this way. All the other 27 government leaders have now become wary of UK blackmail tactics, which would likely backfire. What will the City do now that a UK exit becomes more likely? Bankroll another Tory election campaign?

    • libertarian
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      Peter

      What do you think the US, Canadian, Swiss, Russian, Chinese, Australian etc banks and trading houses that make up the City of London will do? I suspect they will carry on trading on the GLOBAL markets as they’ve always done. The City has always supported Labour in the UK, and Democrats in the USA and the EU. There’s a really good reason why the city always supports them. See if you can guess what it is.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 28, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        @libertarian: You’re mistaken that the City supports Labour in the UK, at least nog in the 2010 elections. Easily to find out for yourself on internet.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Peter–I fervently hope that Brexit has become more likely as you say and BTW I don’t believe you answered (nobody ever does) my two main questions the other day, viz why, first, aren’t Norway and Switzerland trying to get in (they are hardly struggling outside) and, secondly, why no free movement across NAFTA (or anywhere else for that matter)? So many of us here would be delighted if the Continent were to form a bloc which we would be very happy to deal with just like every other country in the World.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted June 28, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Postscript–“or anywhere else” is thinking about it a bit of an exaggeration because there is free movement within the British Isles but then we are special

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 28, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        @Leslie Singleton: Both in Norway and Switzerland, there is no majority public opinion to join the EU, so there’s your simple answer. The reasons that these countries are not doing badly at all are not because of staying outside the EU. Norway has its enormous oil-wealth, Switzerland is a different case all together, it is already a mini EU, a federation with four regional cultures, four languages, direct democracy, and it happens not to have the ambition to sit at the table where EU decisions are made. Mind you, both are Schengen members and subscribe to free movement. Switzerland even found a way to let Croatia’s immigrants in, something that seemed to be in danger after on of its many referendums.
        Why should the UK be in the EU, rather than rejoining EFTA, which it left in 1971? You tell me. It was the UK leaving EFTA, we never forced it to join the EU!

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted June 29, 2014 at 12:24 am | Permalink

          PvL–“Not doing at all badly”?? You must be joking–I believe they are the two richest per caput in the world (odd that, the two richest being the two outside) and I also find it odd how little weight you give to mere “majority public opinion” there. You as ever never even attempt to explain how for instance Canada (and despite long land border) does well on the edge of the USA bloc and of course without free movement. In general you talk hogwash and just point up that you foreigners are very different indeed from us. I do understand that the mental legacy of the Wars will never leave you such that you need the Teddy Bear of the EU.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted June 28, 2014 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      For the EU to have a future, the fact that 10 nations are not in the Eurozone must be taken into account. We must also expect the Eurozone to shrink. Some Member States are in the Eurozone only because they believe that Germany, Finland etc will be forced to make transfer payments to them. But Germany will resist this because the German electorate will force Mrs Merkel to do so.

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted June 28, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        @Lindsay McDougall: A level playing field with EU nations outside the EZ must be guaranteed of course, we agree on that. I don’t expect the EZ to shrink, just as I never wished or expected the EZ to break up and I’ve been proven right so far. You will realise that the EZ is still growing (Lithuania to join in 2015), be it very slowly, which is understandable during the after effects of the financial crisis.

        • Leslie Singleton
          Posted June 29, 2014 at 12:33 am | Permalink

          PvL–Whether the EZ will shrink or not is neither here nor there but one thing it most certainly is is an absolute disaster for far too many of the people unfortunate enough to be locked in it. And wait till German guilt is expiated and that country leaves, which I believe they eventually will.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 28, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        “We must also expect the Eurozone to shrink”

        On the contrary, under the present treaties we must expect the eurozone to continue to expand, not shrink.

        How can it shrink, when there is no way that a country which has joined the eurozone can ever leave it without leaving the EU altogether?

        • Lindsay McDougall
          Posted July 1, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

          Then the treaties will have to be changed. If enough Member States say that is what they want to happen, it will happen.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 1, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            Even Cameron has shown that he doesn’t want it to happen.

  3. Robert K
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Whatever Mr Cameron’s motives, his defeat over Juncker is a victory in disguise. It demonstrates exactly why we need a new relationship with the EU. Bring on 2017!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      No point in waiting until 2017 – it is now even more clear that there will be not real negotiation whatsoever with Cameron.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted June 28, 2014 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      If it becomes clear that there is no willingness to negotiate, why wait until 2017?

  4. Hefner
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Interesting to see that Michel Rocard (former French PM) is now politely asking the UK to come out of the EU!

    The sooner, the better?

    • A different Simon
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      They need us more than we need them .

      Defectors are going to be battering our door down when “The Project” nears completion and Europeans realise the reality of living under tyranny .

  5. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    “the EU is not about to become the mere trading area some UK people thought they were voting for in 1975.”

    But we could get just that.

    We cannot leave if the President of the Commission decides we can’t. To leave, we need the agreement of the European Parliament and they can only discuss what is presented to them by – the President of the Commission.(Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon).

    We cannot stay. As M. Barroso put it in the Humboldt speech 2014: “To move from a competitive to a cooperative approach between the
    Union’s institutions and between the European institutions and the
    Member States, we need a reinforced role of the political parties at the
    Union’s level, to aggregate political interests, to structure political
    priorities and to ensure political coherence throughout.
    This is why the electoral dynamics triggered by the nomination of
    ‘Spitzenkandidaten’ of the political parties for the office of Commission
    president can be a step in the right direction.” The “election” of the President of the Commission is a deliberate move forward towards the EUSSR.

    So why cannot we join the EFTA? Why?

    • Bob
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      @Mike Stallard
      Forget Article 50, that would just place the terms of our exit into the hands of the Commission, and you can imagine how much that would cost us.

      just repeal the 1972 European Communities Act.
      The only sensible way to leave.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      “We cannot leave if the President of the Commission decides we can’t. To leave, we need the agreement of the European Parliament and they can only discuss what is presented to them by – the President of the Commission.(Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon).”

      You need to re-read that article, because what you’ve said is not correct.

      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2010.083.01.0001.01.ENG#C_2010083EN.01001301

  6. APL
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    JR: “I am glad David Cameron has highlighted the system for choosing the next President of the Commission, ”

    Do you even know the procedure is set in the Lisbon treaty that Cameron refused to put to a referendum, or abrogate.

    It’s a bit late to be whinging about the terms of an agreement that was ratified by his predecessor, that before being elected, he said he would put to a popular vote, and oddly, after he was safely elected, refused to do so.

    Perhaps you people in Parliament ought to read the treaties you so blythly ratify, once or twice.

    apparently unaware that the Lisbon Treaty had transferred that power to the European Parliament.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      “It’s a bit late to be whinging about the terms of an agreement that was ratified by his predecessor … ”

      True, but the predecessor in question was Major, with the Maastricht Treaty.

      There aren’t many of the original reports of the time still around on the internet, but here is one:

      http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/game-set-and-match-to-britain-says-prime-minister-major-master-stroke-clinches-an-ec-deal-1.809238

      “Game, set, and match to Britain, says Prime Minister Major master stroke clinches an EC deal

      From Political Editor GEOFFREY PARKHOUSE in MAASTRICHT

      Wednesday 11 December 1991

      THE Maastricht Summit produced a historic treaty this morning, with the Prime Minister’s signature stamped firmly on it. ”It is game, set and match for Britain,” he said.”

      Then look down towards the bottom of that article:

      “On European Parliament powers, Mr Major made concessions but only on minor matters.”

      Eh, yes, before Maastricht the EU Parliament had absolutely nothing at all to do with the appointment of the members of the EU Commission and/or its President, that having always been the sole prerogative of the governments of the member states, with each having a veto; but one of those “minor” concessions made by Major was to grant the EU Parliament not only the right to be consulted on, but the power to veto, the appointments proposed by the governments.

      • APL
        Posted June 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        Denis Cooper: “True, but the predecessor in question was Major, with the Maastricht Treaty.”

        Oh, so I was wrong. Thanks for the correction.

        But that just makes it worse, another concession by the Tory party – that’s the Eurosceptic party – in British politics, in case nobody had noticed – furthering the European Union goal of extinguishing our own country.

        I don’t support that goal, logically I can’t then support the Tory Party.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted June 28, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

          It does make it worse, because Cameron is objecting to something which he must know is based on one of the treaty changes agreed by Major while allowing it be widely misunderstood that Brown or possibly Blair was to blame. If he had said:

          “It is now clear that my predecessor John Major made a mistake by allowing the European Parliament to have power over the appointment of the Commission and its President, and one of the treaty changes I want would be to reverse that mistake and return to the pre-Maastricht system under which the national governments alone made those decisions”

          then that would have been an honest and straightforward position, and also we could have seen how other EU leaders reacted to that specific proposal for treaty change.

          Instead he is confusing the public by pretending that the EU Parliament has seized a new power when that is not the case, it is simply that MEPs have now organised themselves to take full advantage of an existing power freely granted by the governments of the member states over two decades ago.

          Not all of the other EU leaders are happy about this development, as made clear here:

          http://euobserver.com/eu-elections/124796

          but note that while they plan to review the new Spitzenkandidaten process that will be while “respecting the European treaties”, when in reality it would need the treaties to be changed back to remove the power of the EU Parliament to veto the proposals made by the European Council.

          Even if the European Council could find ways to prevent MEPs pretending that the elections for the EU Parliament were also elections for the President of the EU Commission they would still be faced with the possibility that a majority of the MEPs would stand together and refuse to approve any person nominated for that post other than the person that they wanted; the EU leaders were not prepared to fight the EU Parliament this time and there’s no reason to suppose that they’d have any more stomach for that fight next time.

          Major and his fellow government leaders agreed to remove the cork from this bottle back in 1992, and while it has taken some time for the genie to fully emerge there is no way that it can now be put back in the bottle except by changing the treaties.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted June 28, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

        Indeed, and it was Maastricht that authorised creation of the Euro. If only we had had a Prime Minister minded to veto it, we would already have our two ring Europe. 20 wasted years!!

    • Jerry
      Posted June 28, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      @APL: “It’s a bit late to be whinging about the terms of an agreement that was ratified by his predecessor, that before being elected, he said he would put to a popular vote, and oddly, after he was safely elected, refused to do so.”

      As you said, the Lisbon Treaty was ratified before Cameron became PM, thus there was nothing to hold a referendum on, other than leaving the EU (something he didn’t promise [1]) which might well have gained some traction from a strong Tory government backbench. But all this is hyperbole on stilts because the Tory party was not safely elected as the UK government -thanks to UKIP, they ever boasted about being the cause of the coalition…

      [1] the promise was to hold a referendum, asking should the UK government ratify the Lisbon Treaty: Yes or No. – a question that could no longer be asked once the treaty had been ratified, hence the manifesto pledge to modify the 1972 accession Act, to require a referendum before any further national powers given up to the EU, which Cameron has delivered.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 29, 2014 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        So you deny the sovereignty of our national Parliament.

        Well, I’m not surprised.

        • Jerry
          Posted June 29, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Dennis: Please explicitly state were I even implied that. Other5wise please learn to read!

          I merely stated the FACTS.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

            We’ve been over this before.

            Our national Parliament is sovereign and it can order that a referendum be held on any question it chooses.

            If it asks the people “Are you in favour of the UK continuing to be bound by the Lisbon Treaty?”, or “Do you wish to accept the Lisbon Treaty?”, or any similar question, and the answer is “No”, then it can decide what to do about that.

            If instead of caving in on November 4th 2009 Cameron had said that he would still hold such a referendum in 2010 if he was Prime Minister, not only would that have made it more likely that he would become Prime Minister with an overall majority after the 2010 general election, if the answer in the referendum had been “No” then he could have been straight into that far-reaching renegotiation of our relationship with the EU that instead he is now having put off until after the next general election.

          • Jerry
            Posted June 30, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

            @Dennis Cooper: “We’ve been over this before.”/i>

            Yes we have and you were wrong then as you are now, get over it.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            Yes, Jerry, if you say that I’m wrong then obviously that must be the case, despite your patently inferior knowledge and understanding …

          • Jerry
            Posted July 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

            @Dennis: But that’s the point, you don’t understand, you have such anti EU, anti Major/Cameron tunnel vision you are incapable of even understanding what people are actually talking about any more. The facts are about what Cameron said, what was and wasn’t ratified by May 2010 and what it all meant – stop trying to construct straw man arguments to try and fit your wished for version of events.

  7. Old Albion
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    As i said on Monday;
    “”Mr Cameron will pose and posture, then Juncker will get the job”

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      There will be much posing and posturing until 7th May 2015. Then Cameron, in the highly unlikely event that he wins a majority, will just become Clegg figure again for 4 years.

      He will use some ruse to avoid a referendum should he thinks he will lose. Something as daft as his “a treaty is no longer a treaty once ratified”. Or something such as “I promised a referendum after renegotiation with the EU, but as the EU refused to negotiation it clearly does not apply”. Or just my wet wing (60% of the party including Cameron) will not let me and I only have a tiny majority (if he is very lucky that is).

  8. Richard1
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I don’t see this at all as a defeat for David Cameron, in fact I think its much better than if a supposedly better candidate such as Madame Lagard had been appointed, as its very unlikely there would have been any difference in the direction of the EU or actions of the EC. The Conservatives should make it very clear that it is due to the Lisbon treaty signed by Gordon Brown that we have no ability to block the EC president, a person who has power over us but whom we don’t elect and can’t get rid of.

    The choice for the next election is very clear – do you want an attempt at renegotiation backed up by as referendum, in which vote Conservative, or not,in which case vote Labour or libdem (or UKIP as that will deliver a Labour govt).

    • Jerry
      Posted June 28, 2014 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      @Richard1: Well said, especially the second paragraph!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 28, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      “The Conservatives should make it very clear that it is due to the Lisbon treaty signed by Gordon Brown that we have no ability to block the EC president”

      It would make a change for the Conservatives to tell the truth rather than seeking how to mislead the public, a very bad habit, and in this case it was not Brown and the Lisbon Treaty it was Major and the Maastricht Treaty.

  9. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, I fully agree with the contents of your article. I suspect that this particular horse has bolted and it will be fascinating to see the approach that the Conservative leadership takes on Europe from now.

    This morning there is talk of becoming more negative which potentially is the wrong approach now vetoes are no longer available, these alliances we keep hearing of in the news have become more important. It is unlikely that our needs align with many other countries’ needs so an exit becomes much more likely.

    A hardened stance towards the EU should include publication of how a succesful renegotiation will be determined in the Conservative manifesto.

  10. David Cockburn
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Much has been made of the fact that Juncker was the lead candidate of the the party with the most seats in the EU Parliament.
    As far as I can make out just 28,000 total votes were cast in UK for the EPP.
    Cameron is clearly right to stand on the principle of resistance to this power grab by the German dominated parliament.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    The number of people who receive more in benefits and public services than they pay in taxes is at record levels it seems. More than half of households now take more from the public purse than they contribute.

    It is very clear that uncontrolled immigration lowers GDP per capita very considerably. Contrary to the edless “BBC think” claims of the benefits. We clearly need mainly people who will earn more than about £45,000 (each) or bring in capital – be they from the EU or anywhere else.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/tax/10929370/More-than-half-of-homes-take-more-than-they-contribute.html

    When is Cameron finally going to do something about his bloated, 50% over paid & pensioned and misdirected & largely incompetent state sector that delivers so little of real value and taxes, fines and licences so much?

    We have had enough of expensive green crap energy, pointless wars, an incompetent health service, lack of roads, over regulation of virtually everything and a very poor education system. What is his policy on IHT for the election having ratted on it last time so dishonestly? What happened to his in three letter priority N. H. S. it is hugely worse now and it was very bad when he came to power.

  12. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    JR: “At the end of this new Commission, like its predecessors, member states will have lost more power and the EU will have gained it.”
    Therefore the appointment of Juncker will make no difference. Many here already realised that. The fact that Cameron tried to oppose this appointment and failed is now being portrayed (as was always the intention) by the Conservative party as a sign of how he means what he says about re-negotiation with the EU. I am unaware just whom Cameron would have preferred to take this job and why. Not surprising really because that would show the vacuity of his approach and we must continue to be conned into believing that his sudden conversion from opposition to an in/out referendum to being an advocate is more than party political posturing.
    As for the UK’s requirements, perhaps you would enlighten us. Most of your parliamentary party would accept the status quo and vote to stay in. The list of requirements, according to your MEP colleague Dan Hannan, is now so “paltry” that even Clarke and Clegg agree. Be honest, there is a determination amongst the political establishment at Westminster to ensure that the UK is kept imprisoned in the anti-democratic foreign organisation called the EU. After all, as Juncker would say ‘When it becomes serious, you have to lie ‘ (Telegraph 4 June 2014) – we need some truth and honesty.

  13. Mark B
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    None !

  14. matthu
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    According to Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph, “Cameron has arrived in Brussels shocked at how these politicians all say one thing in private then another in public. ”

    Really? Where has he been for the past 40 years? How often have the opt-outs carefully crafted by the UK been side-stepped by the EU?

    More of the same under Juncker – or any of the rest of them – I fear.

    Trust grows – or wanes – through experience.

  15. Max Dunbar
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Same rigidity and territorial ambitions as the old Soviet Union.
    We need to put more resources in to defence and to counter the pro-EU SNP in Scotland. On that note, I’m glad to hear that a massive investment in the Faslane naval base on the west coast of Scotland is going ahead which will be good for the economy here but, above all will enable us to continue to punch above our weight in the international arena.

  16. Posted June 27, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I think it merely demonstrates that we have very little say in the running of the EU and are ignored by the majority of the other countries. We are certainly not “In the centre of things” or “Punching our weight” as is often claimed.
    It will give UKIP a propaganda advantage and will enhance the view that Cameron is weak. It will certainly make voters realise that Cameron is unlikely to get anything worthwhile out of his proposed renegotiations.

  17. Posted June 27, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Dr. Redwood,

    We need no reminders of the direction of travel being taken by the E.U. Club. The members have been quite open from the beginning that they seek ever closer political union. The means of achieving that goal will change with the changes of those in power at any given time, but the goal remains the same and the posts have not been moved.

    Cameron’s argument with the selectors about who should captain the team is wholly irrelevant. The only reminder that IS needed is the reminder that we should not be in the team, because we were lumbered with membership of the Club by the deceit of our own national leaders.

    The way to sort things out is quite clear. Stop arguing with the rest of the team about tactics. Take off the team jersey and start playing cricket!

    John Wrake.

  18. acorn
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    “I am glad David Cameron has highlighted the system for choosing the next President of the Commission” you say. It’s a pity he didn’t highlight the system to the British people in the run up to the Euro Elections.

    The Brits must be the least educated in how the EU works than any of the member States. Why are the little people not allowed to join in? Why is the debate limited to the Political Class in the UK? How many voters have you found, on a doorstep canvass, have got a clue about what we are debating here?

    Anyway JR can you tell us if it is Lansley for our Commissioner? I take it he wont be doing Ashton’s job as foreign whatsit person. If Juncker gets the CEO position, our boy (or girl), will be in charge of paperclips I expect.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    “I am glad David Cameron has highlighted the system for choosing the next President of the Commission, and has tried to get others to see this is an important choice for every member state of the EU.”

    So will he propose an amendment to the EU treaties to reverse the change to the system that was agreed by his predecessor John Major through the Maastricht Treaty?

    Before the Maastricht Treaty, Major’s triumphant “Game, set and match for Britain”, the EU Parliament had no involvement at all with the appointment of the Commissioners and their President; under the 1957 Treaty of Rome that was the sole prerogative of the governments of the member states, which each having a veto over every appointment.

    If Cameron now wishes to return to that system he will need to persuade all of the other EU member state governments to agree to change that part of their treaties back to the position prior to Maastricht.

    Or, to be more precise, back to the position prior to January 7th 1995, when under Article 158 of the Maastricht Treaty the new system, giving the EU Parliament not only the right to be consulted on the composition of the Commission but the power of veto over the proposal from the governments, was used for the first time:

    http://old.eur-lex.europa.eu/en/treaties/dat/11992M/htm/11992M.html

    “3. Paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be applied for the first time to the President and the other members of the Commission whose term of office begins on 7 January 1995.

    The President and the other members of the Commission whose term of office begins on 7 January 1993 shall be appointed by common accord of the governments of the Member States. Their term of office shall expire on 6 January 1995.”

  20. Peter Davies
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The only way out of this as I see it is an elevated EFTA which becomes the regulator for goods and services and mandates the Free Trade Area NAFTA style without the domestic govt bells and whistles, CAP, fishing and the rest.

    Countries such as the UK who do not buy into the EUssr federalist agenda need to be left to pull out leaving the core EU to just get on with it.

    This has been a major distraction for years and the issue needs to be put to bed with the trading status legally assured and an in/out referendum. Its draining just constantly reading about it.

  21. They Work for Us?
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Cameron should follow Machiavelli . Roughly speaking “find out what your enemy really wants and deny it to him utterly”.
    A team should be listing EU items where Cameron has the right of a straight veto and use it however unreasonable it might seem. Cause perpetual delay of pet projects, be a nuisance and don’t give in. Seek to be feared rather than loved.
    Important and necessary reforms should include.
    Welfare payments set at the value of the persons native country, eligibility according to their rules.
    Only net contributors can vote on the EU budget. We cannot operate in a scheme where the more numerous recipient countries can vote that we should give them more money
    The accounts must be properly passed before there is anything other than a minimalist
    3monthly holding budget.
    I hope Cameron’s pride is hurt enough to do this but I doubt it. It is so much nicer to be loved and told you are a good European as your pocket is being picked and the person but one you spoke to is laughing behind their hand.

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      My policy is easier to understand. Stick it to the French. Oppose what they support and support what they oppose.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted June 28, 2014 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      “Only net contributors can vote on the EU budget.”

      And only taxpayers can have the vote? No representation without taxation?

  22. Peter Davies
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I take it the “selection” or “voting” system was devised as part of Lisbon – Mr Cameron is right to highlight it but in reality can do nothing about it.

    Does that include having only one candidate to vote for? EU is starting to look more like the one party Zimbabwe state every day.

    Juniker is part of the EU apparatus and part of the problem – I suppose having such a figure in charge should at least get more people to wake up to the realities of EU membership so could turn out to be a blessing.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Once you give MEPs the power to reject a Commission proposed by the member state governments then you are giving them the power to say that they will only approve a Commission which does not include this specified person or which has that other specified person as its President.

      That was the crucial power that Major agreed would be granted to MEPs through Article 158 of the Maastricht Treaty, and none of the relevant treaty changes since then have made any fundamental difference.

      Granting MEPs the power to first of all veto just a proposed President, as well as still being able to later veto the whole Commission – the Amsterdam Treaty – and removing the national veto when the governments are coming to their proposal – the Nice Treaty – and saying that they must take into account the results of the EU Parliament elections – the Lisbon Treaty – are insignificant refinements compared to the original decision to not only allow them to become involved but allow them a veto over the composition of the Commission, and that was done through the Maastricht Treaty with the agreement of Major and almost all the Tory MPs who voted to approve that treaty.

      What has happened now is that the MEPs have got themselves organised to make a fuller use of the power that was originally granted to them by the governments of the member states, including the UK government, two decades ago.

      That is one aspect of the way the EU project develops, that a “minor concession” in one treaty turns out to be not so minor some way down the road.

  23. Bryan
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    It will make no difference who gets what jobs at the top of the EU

    The European Parliament is a farce, voting for tabled items by rote, faster than a cattle market auctioneer.

    The EU Commission will get their own way on all legislation or initiatives by foul means or even fouler ones.

    We shall never get out of this Soviet style ruled block. At least in what is left of my time – and I intend to live a few years yet.

    Like Hague jetting off to talk to the leader of the Kurds (it has already been done Bill!) our Front Bench politicians are more impressed with their selfies on the World/European stage than actually getting down to it and making the lot of those who vote for them better!

    Big summer hols coming up for them soon, our chance to get on with our lives without them.

  24. AndyC
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Sincere question… what do you think are the odds of Mr Cameron negotiating a resettlement of Britain’s EU membership, to the point where you would personally campaign in a 2017 referendum to stay in?

    If, as I suspect, you think that figure is pretty much zero (and I’d agree with you), why do we all have to keep up the charade?

    On the specific Juncker point, I fail to see it matters much. Any plausible candidate by definition will have a centralising agenda, inasmuch as it’s acceptable to Mrs Merkel.

  25. Gary
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Juncker is a sideshow.

    The real issue is deposit theft, or just monetary theft. I see Spain is now going to tax bank deposits, probably because unlike us, who have an inflation deposit tax, Spain cannot print money so they just slap an overt tax.

    Isn’t it great in a kleptocracy?

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, I noticed this in a Telegraph report yesterday:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/bank-of-england/10927409/Bank-of-England-cracks-down-on-mortgages.html

    “… the FPC signalled that it would be comfortable if house prices rose by 20pc over the next three years … ”

    That’s 6.3% pa average, more than 4% pa above the 2% pa target for CPI, and also above the likely rate of growth of the economy in nominal terms, that is before adjustment for inflation, so shouldn’t the FPC be feeling uncomfortable about it?

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted June 28, 2014 at 6:22 am | Permalink

      House prices are 5.5 times average earnings as against a long term average of 4.0 times earnings. In 1996, the ratio was down to 3.0 – much better for the real economy.

  27. Atlas
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I wonder why the Poles fear the Russians – as this is being cited as part of the reason for the recent briefing about Cameron? Does Russia actually have designs on present Polish territory? – remember they took as much as they chose to after the Second world War. Poland may be trying to ‘stick’ to Germany because of perceptions about Russia but 1939 comes to mind – so is it a wise policy for the Poles especially as the Germans had territory taken from them and given to Poland?

    I wonder what Junker will do on these matters? I note the EU apparachniks have finally got their agreement with the Ukraine – which was the probable cause of so much trouble in that country.

    I despair of the Empire building EU.

  28. Terry
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    So, the deed has been done – the die is cast. The UK lost 26 to 2 and that tells us that Britain counts for nowt in the EU. So much for being on the “Top Table”.

    It’s time to leave that socialist club, hell bent on dominating Europe, for they are achieving what(others by war ed) failed to achieve. To take control of the whole of Europe and they have done it all by stealth. Where do we go from here? Down – if we are not out.
    Dave, referendum now, why wait any longer? You are not going to get anywhere with these megalomaniacs. Save Our Souls and let the EU destroy itself.

  29. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I know you think I am always so negative so please read and answer your MEP colleague Dan Hannan: “The ‘renegotiation’ strategy has just gone up in flames – it’s in or out on the current terms . The game is up. No one will now believe that the United Kingdom can deliver a substantively different deal in Europe. The FCO’s ploy of doing a Harold Wilson – that is, making some piffling changes and presenting them as a significant new deal – has been discredited almost before it began. If David Cameron couldn’t prevent the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission, no one will believe that he can deliver a more flexible EU, with more freedom of action for its member nations. …………………So, all you government ministers who have been saying that you’d vote No to the current terms but would wait and see if they could be improved; all you MPs and columnists taking the same line; all you sincere, decent people who genuinely hoped that substantive reform might be possible – you have your answer now. Let the campaign begin…”

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100277971/the-renegotiation-strategy-has-just-gone-up-in-flames-its-in-or-out-on-the-current-terms/

  30. Hefner
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    In June 2004, the UK got their choice with Barroso as President of the EU Commission, and at the time, Henry Kissinger joked that he still didn’t know whom to call when wanting to speak with “Europe”, clearly not thinking much of him. So could it be that Cameron would have preferred a weaker President than Juncker, somebody a bit more like Barroso.
    Could it be that Major was more a tactician than Cameron?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 28, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      It’s thanks to Major that Cameron found himself in the doo-dah over this.

  31. Posted June 27, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    There is near-unanimous agreement across British political parties that they, and the UK public do not want “Ever Closer Union.” Clegg may be a rare exception.

    But European leaders just don’t get that, do they ?

    Even this afternoon Merkel said in a press conference :

    “It was made clear yet again that the idea of an ever-closer union, as it is stated in the treaties, does not mean that there is equal speed among the member countries but there can be different speeds that member countries adopt to come to ever-closer union”

    Someone needs to explain to them that the British people don’t want “ever closer union” at whatever speed it goes at.

    Personally when push comes to shove, I very much doubt whether the French or German voters want that either. Yet Junkers and co will take the project on further and further acting as if everyone wants a Superstate.

    They can’t even agree to pool their economic policy and indebtedness in the Eurozone,

    A reality check is desperately needed.

  32. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    I smell a U-turn in the making. Of course, such a thing can not possibly be as a result of a change of mind. Oh no, it has to be because something outside ones control has changed.

    So “If the rest of the EU continue to be so unsympathetic to UK requirements, more UK voters will draw their own conclusions about the desirability of our continued membership” is a handy way of showing its not my fault, but all of theirs. An argument boldly made that fails to go your way is a convenient failure with which to build the U-turn case.

    I suspect Cameron’s policy on the EU was delivered to him. Not really understanding all the issues it would have been an easy sell. Now he has found, like many before him, that no matter how much you want to be “in Europe”, the more you see it up close the less appealing it looks for the UK. And the EU is not for turning; they like it as it is.

  33. Alan Wheatley
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Slightly off-topic, but related, after Scotland leaves the UK and the rump UK leaves the EU we going to have to build a new version of Hadrian’s Wall.

  34. oldtimer
    Posted June 27, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    The key difference arising from Juncker`s appointment appears to be a change in the balance of power within the EU. The Heads of State are weaker, The EU Parliament and the Commission are stronger.

    I suspect that this may make the renegotiation of the UK`s position in the EU more difficult than before; some will see the UK as a lost cause and prefer it if the UK were not a member. A few in the media and in politics are, apparently, also thinking and saying this. If this is indeed the case, it would be no bad outcome if there was a mutual agreement between the UK and the rest of the EU for the UK to disengage entirely as a simpler option than trying to renegotiate endless minutiae requiring the unanimous agreement of all the other members.

    • matthu
      Posted June 28, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Even the BBC remarked that what had just happened amounted to a massive transfer of power away from national governments and to the EU parliament.

      But what was it that we were asured would happen if there was any further transfer of power to the EU?

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted June 29, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Then the BBC has got it wrong; this transfer of power from the member state governments to the EU Parliament occurred over two decades ago, when the former agreed through their Maastricht Treaty that in the future the appointment of the Commission including its President would be subject to a vote of approval by the latter, starting with the Commission whose term began on January 7th 1995.

        Here is that treaty on the EU’s website from 1992:

        http://old.eur-lex.europa.eu/en/treaties/dat/11992M/htm/11992M.html

        and it said in Article G, section 48), that this new article would be inserted into (what was becoming) the Treaty establishing the European Community:

        “Article 158

        1. The members of the Commission shall be appointed, in accordance with the procedure referred to in paragraph 2, for a period of five years, subject, if need be, to Article 144.

        Their term of office shall be renewable.

        2. The governments of the Member States shall nominate by common accord, after consulting the European Parliament, the person they intend to appoint as President of the Commission.

        The governments of the Member States shall, in consultation with the nominee for President, nominate the other persons whom they intend to appoint as members of the Commission.

        The President and the other members of the Commission thus nominated shall be subject as a body to a vote of approval by the European Parliament. After approval by the European Parliament, the President and the other members of the Commission shall be appointed by common accord of the governments of the Member States.

        3. Paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be applied for the first time to the President and the other members of the Commission whose term of office begins on 7 January 1995.

        The President and the other members of the Commission whose term of office begins on 7 January 1993 shall be appointed by common accord of the governments of the Member States. Their term of office shall expire on 6 January 1995.”

        So it was agreed then that the next Commission would be appointed by the member state governments without the EU Parliament having any say at all, as had always been the case since 1957, but for the one after that not only would the Parliament have the right to be consulted over the choice of President but far more importantly “The President and the other members of the Commission thus nominated shall be subject as a body to a vote of approval by the European Parliament”.

        If the proposal to grant this new power to the EU Parliament merited a referendum in the UK then it should have been a referendum at that time on the Maastricht Treaty, which of course Major refused to allow.

  35. Posted June 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    The big difference it makes is that it proves, if Cameron can only get Hungary to vote with him, that there is no possible way he is going to get the far reaching renegotiation promised for the referendum. There is thus no point in waiting till 2017, considering that membership costs us 10% of gdp every year.

  36. Martin
    Posted June 28, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I hope the French and Italians haven’t forgotten that Mr Juncker does not control the ECB. Mr Draghi and the Bundesbank are a different matter.

    As for Cameron has he told anybody what powers he is after ? Perhaps opting out of CAP would be the best one to go for (most expensive).

  • 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.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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