Cameron and Juncker

Is Cameron yet again picking the wrong battle to fight in Europe?

The Commission President is important, but at the end of the day the Commission only proposes new EU rules — it doesn’t decide on them, or shape the general direction of the union.

Given that there appears to be a qualified majority among heads of state and government in favour of putting forward Mr Juncker for election by the European Parliament, the only way for Cameron to stop them is to throw a tantrum and hope this will dissuade the others from outvoting him.

And to what avail? Granted, Juncker is not young, dashing, or dynamic. But he comes from the traditional European centre-right mainstream that Cameron needs to get on his side, if his particular reform ambitions are to get anywhere at all. Too late now, but he would have done better to offer Juncker support in exchange for a promise to take his reform agenda seriously.

Instead, Cameron’s knee-jerk reaction, aimed at appeasing his eurosceptic backbenchers, risks securing nothing other than a humiliating and very public defeat whilst at the same time alienating his potential allies in Europe.

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