Antony Hook asks… Juncker nominated as next President of the European Commission – What happens next?

EU flagToday the European Council nominated Jean-Claude Juncker to be the next President of the European Commission. The heads of government of the 28 states voted overwhelmingly for Juncker. Only the UK’s David Cameron (European Conservatives and Reformists) and Hungary’s Viktor Orban (European People’s Party) voted against.

Juncker’s nomination reflects not only the European People’s Party’s status as largest group in the Parliament but also that it supplies more of the states’ heads of government than any other party. The Council’s nominee will go before the Parliament in its plenary, 14-17 July. The Parliament may vote to confirm his appointment as President or can reject it.

The support of Juncker’s own party, the EPP, which has 221 seats will not be enough. The ECR (Conservatives, 70 seats) and Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD – hard-right, including UKIP, 48 seats) have indicated they will vote against – a simple position which will deliver simply nothing for their constituents, nor any policy from their manifestos.

To be elected Juncker will need support from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE, 67 seats), the Greens (50), or the Socialists (191). As for what Juncker will have to do to secure Green or Socialist support, those groups will have to make their positions known.

Our leader in the Parliament, Guy Verhofstandt has said that ALDE support depends on action for growth, efficiency and protection of civil liberties (in particular privacy):

“Our group will vote in favour of Jean-Claude Junker on condition that his programme for the Commission over the next five years will contain fundamental reforms such as the deepening of the internal market in crucial sectors, completion of the measures to strengthen economic governance, a more efficient administration and enhanced privacy and other fundamental rights legislation… we would like to see a clear timetable and working method in order to ensure real change takes place and to avoid the delays we have seen over the past decade.”

As far as I know, no major UK newspaper has carried an interview with Juncker about his intentions for the Commission’s programme for 2014-19. I hope we see such an interview or that he comes to Britain to meet people, make a speech and answer questions soon.

* Antony Hook is a Liberal Democrat MEP for South East England and has practised as a barrister since 2003.

Read more by or more about , , , , , or .
This entry was posted in Europe / International and News.
Advert

33 Comments

  • Cameron loses the election and we all breathe a sigh of relief that europhobes are no longer making Britain such an international laughing stock. That’s what happens next.

  • Richard Morris 27th Jun '14 - 9:38pm

    I know it won’t happen but it would by very amusing if the Parliament votes against Juncker….

  • Richard Dean 27th Jun '14 - 9:39pm

    All still to play for?

    If my math is correct, there are 751 MEPs, so a simple majority is 376, and the EPP need the support of an extra 155 votes. ALDE plus Greens makes only 117, so at least 38 more would have to come from somewhere else.

    If the Social Democrats were to vote against, then the No votes would total 309, and the result will be determined by the choices made by the GUE/NGL with 52 votes and the non-aligned members with 43 votes.

    http://www.results-elections2014.eu/en/election-results-2014.html

  • I suspect that the Socialists will vote for Juncker, because they will expect other groups to support their candidate if they are the biggest group in the future.

  • In the UK it’s Christmas for Ukip votes likely to be taken off Labour and LibDem as well, I would refrain from gloating it is likely to increase the percentage in favour of leaving the EU. Regardless of Nick I find it hard to see this will help electorally for the Party

  • Paul in Wokingham 27th Jun '14 - 11:17pm

    “When it becomes serious you have to lie” : Jean-Claude Juncker.

  • I really can’t see how ALDE can vote for Juncker. He is no Liberal Democrat and he is no reformer. Even Nick Clegg has said he is not the right person for the job

    This is the opportunity for us to put aside our recent view that “Europe is right in every way” and be Liberal Democats again “Pro Europe and Pro Reform”

  • The parliament needs to vote for Juncker if it is solidify its status as the nexus of EU democracy. Juncker is in this position because the party he is the candidate for won a plurality.

  • Paul Reynolds 28th Jun '14 - 6:55am

    We don’t know at this juncture what Juncker has agreed with each Council member in order to secure the recommended nomination. The deals he has done with Germany, France Italy and the more eastern countries may be unrelated to reforms expected by the voters. Merkel’s own political party set out a radical programmer of structural reform not dissimilar to those proposed by Verhofstat and the European Liberals. If the deals have skirted round EU reforms and focused instead on sectional national interests (and special interest spending issues) then the European parliament may vote against Juncker, if only to assert their authority.

  • Underneath the display of petulance by Cameron over Juncker’s appointment, which will of course be endorsed by the European Parliament, interesting things are happening where it really matters – in particular the statement issued after the meeting of Prime Ministers. As the Swedish Prime Minister has gently pointed out, a major change is buried in the wording. Let’s look at clause 27 –
    ” The UK raised some concerns related to the future development of the EU. These concerns will need to be addressed. In this context, the European Council noted that the concept of ever closer union allows for different paths of integration for different countries, allowing those that want to deepen integration to move ahead, WHILE RESPECTING THE WISH OF THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT TO DEEPEN ANY FURTHER [my capitals].
    Once the new European Commission is effectively in place, the European Council will consider the process for the appointment of the President of the European Commission for the future, respecting the European Treaties”

    It was already clear that the degree of integration required for eurozone countries would differ from that required for non-eurozone countries like UK but the suggestion that this is not just a question of pace of change but rather allowing for different wishes as to ultimate destination has never before been put forward as far as I know. Surely there is something here to work on.

  • Underneath the display of petulance by Cameron over Juncker’s appointment, which will of course be endorsed by the European Parliament, interesting things are happening where it really matters – in particular the statement issued after the meeting of Prime Ministers. As the Swedish Prime Minister has gently pointed out, a major change is buried in the wording. Let’s look at clause 27 –
    ” The UK raised some concerns related to the future development of the EU. These concerns will need to be addressed. In this context, the European Council noted that the concept of ever closer union allows for different paths of integration for different countries, allowing those that want to deepen integration to move ahead, WHILE RESPECTING THE WISH OF THOSE WHO DO NOT WANT TO DEEPEN ANY FURTHER [my capitals].
    Once the new European Commission is effectively in place, the European Council will consider the process for the appointment of the President of the European Commission for the future, respecting the European Treaties”

    It was already clear that the degree of integration required for eurozone countries would differ from that required for non-eurozone countries like UK but the suggestion that this is not just a question of pace of change but rather allowing for different wishes as to ultimate destination has never before been put forward as far as I know. Surely there is something here to work on.

  • Thanks to George Potter for providing the link to Mr Juncker’s priorities.

    As George points out these have been ironed by the UK media. Yet one of his priorities is as follows —

    5. priority for me as Commission President will be to give an answer to the British question. No reasonable politician can ignore the fact that, during the next five years, we will have to find solutions for the political concerns of the United Kingdom. We have to do this if we want to keep the UK within the European Union – which I would like to do as Commission President. As Commission President, I will work for a fair deal with Britain. A deal that accepts the specificities of the UK in the EU, while allowing the Eurozone to integrate further. The UK will need to understand that in the Eurozone, we need more Europe, not less. On the other hand, the other EU countries will have to accept that the UK will never participate in the euro, even if we may regret this. We have to accept that the UK will not become a member of the Schengen area. And I am also ready to accept that the UK will stay outside new EU institutions such as the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, meant to improve the fight against fraud in the EU, but clearly rejected by the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We have to respect such clear positions of the British Parliament, based on the British “opt out” Protocol. David Cameron has recently written down a number of further key demands in an article published in the Daily Telegraph. As Commission President, I will be ready to talk to him about these demands in a fair and reasonable manner. My red line in such talks would be the integrity of the single market and its four freedoms; and the possibility to have more Europe within the Eurozone to strengthen the single currency shared so far by 18 and soon by 19 Member States. But I have the impression that this is as important for Britain as it will be for the next President of the Commission. A deal that accepts the specificities of the UK in the EU.

  • “Ignored ” by the UK media NOT “ironed”.

  • “Never” is a very long time. It’s not difficult for me to imagine a situation, some years hence, in which the UK is begging to adopt the Euro — and the eurozone are saying “no.”

  • jedibeeftrix 28th Jun '14 - 12:37pm

    The comments of Denis and John tilley give us hope, there is something for Cameron to work with.

  • David Evershed 28th Jun '14 - 12:40pm

    Malcolm Bruce says it is still Lib Dem policy to replace the pound with the Euro.

    This would mean that interest rates in the UK would be set by the European Central Bank at the same level as in all other Euro zone countries.

    When one Eurozone country is booming and another is stagnating they need different interest rates set. For example, Ireland found it was unable to increase interest rates to stop a boom in property prices because other Eurzone countries needed low interest rates to boost their economies.

    If Malcolm Bruce is right then we should consider changing our policy to staying out of the Eurozone.

  • Tony Greaves 28th Jun '14 - 4:49pm

    The five priorities set out by Mr Juncker seem to combine political vision and practicalities in a typically European way. I can’t see why they cannot be broadly endorsed by Liberals.

    What is appalling is that all three party leaders seem to be running behind the UK media in one of its worst bouts of anti-European frenzy, typically nauseous and ignorant and led not just by the “Up Yours Delors” tradition of the Mail and Sun but (as we are now coming to expect) by the BBC.

    At a recent meeting I was at, David Steel asked innocently “What’s wrong with Mr Juncker?” Various assembled Important Persons and “Teenage SPaDs” snorted with a round of “What’s Right with him?” and “How many reasons do you want?” but of rational responses were there none.

    It seems to me, and I suspect to a lot of people in Europe, that Mr Cameron has been behaving like a posh brat, a privileged rich kid used to getting his own way by shouting across the garden at his nanny, or shouting loudest in the school quadrangle, – and getting increasingly loud and red-faced on the occasions when he doesn’t get his own way. His petulance at having to go across the Channel yet again in three weeks time for yet more discussions with people whose instincts are rather for democratic consensus-building, really said it all.

    After all the fuss about tuition fees, the NHS, and even the draconian austerity cuts have died away, it may be that future historians will decide that the greatest blame for Liberal Democrats under the Coalition has been in allowing this dreadful man to stay as Prime Minister for five years.

    Tony

  • David Allen 28th Jun '14 - 7:23pm

    What nobody ever makes clear is what repatriation of powers Cameron can conceivably seek and gain. It’s a kind of conspiracy of silence.

    Cameron will be given a mouse. He will declare that his mouse is an elephant. Because Juncker would like Cameron to accept the mouse, he too will declare that he has given an elephant away. So Cameron will ride home in bogus triumph. He will call his referendum, and call it Britain’s chance to celebrate winning the elephant by voting to accept it.

    Farage, not for the first time, will find himself the lucky recipient of a perfectly true story which he will race to tell. He will point out that the mouse is a mouse. As for ourselves, I fear we will try to tell the whole truth, and find that nobody understands it.

  • Richard Dean 28th Jun '14 - 7:49pm

    I agree with Tony Greaves, which is a new experience/shock.

    However, Cameron was surely right to argue that the Lisbon Treaty should be adhered to. After all, once one breach has been accepted, what value do other conditions and restraints in the treaty have? One breach acts as a precedent, and other breaches become harder to stop. Article 9D Clause 7 does say that “Taking …. and …, the European Council, ACTING BY A QUALIFIED MAJORITY, shall propose to the European Parliament a candidate for President of the Commission.” (My caps)

  • jedibeeftrix 28th Jun '14 - 10:34pm

    “It seems to me, and I suspect to a lot of people in Europe, that Mr Cameron has been behaving like a posh brat, a privileged rich kid used to getting his own way””.

    It doesn’t matter what Europeans think, or you as an individual tony, it matters what British voters ( en-masse), think.

  • Richard Dean 28th Jun '14 - 11:36pm

    The letter is that the Commission should decide by QMV, as indicated by the text that I quoted.

  • Richard Dean 28th Jun '14 - 11:37pm

    Apologies for typo… that should have been …

    The letter is that the Council should decide by QMV, as indicated by the text that I quoted.

  • Richard Dean 28th Jun '14 - 11:40pm

    ie. they should decide, by QMV, who to nominate

    A scenario can be envisaged that, after all due consideration and discussion, the Commission would prefer to decide to nominate someone that would be unlikely to be approved by the MEPs.

    The cosy, hide-it-all=behind-a-consensus approach is hardly evidence of transparent democracy at work.

  • Jonathan Pile 28th Jun '14 - 11:48pm

    Is the Conservative Party now in breach of Section 13 of the Coalition Agreement ? – The Section on Europe states:
    “The Government believes that Britain should play a leading role in an enlarged European Union… and that We will ensure that the British Government is a positive participant in the European Union playing a stong and positive role with our partners.”
    Has Cameron’s actions in establishing the conditions for a Brexit broken the spirit of the CA and can we now justifiably leave the government part of the coalition, to leave the Conservatives 10 months of lame duckery, and we become once again a real party of opposition, just leaving the conservatives as caretakers for 2015?

  • And your approach, Richard, of “we’ll go back to the status quo ante, and take no account of what the EU’s own elected politicians say”. How does your approach take account of the situation in the European Parliament? And how is it advancing the Liberal Democrat constitution’s view that we are democratic, interested in a federal Europe, and internationalist in outlook? I fail to see how your stress on QMV makes one iota of difference to this issue.

  • Richard Dean 29th Jun '14 - 5:34pm

    @Tim13
    We have a treaty. The treaty says something of value, or it says nothing of value.

  • @Jack 28th Jun ’14 – 1:02am
    I disagree, I think the EU Parliament needs to vote against the EU Council’s nomination ie. Juncker, if it is to solidify its status as the nexus of EU democracy. Remember the EU council’s appointee has no mandate from the EU electorate.
    Yes I anticipate at some stage it may approve the appointment of Juncker’s; but between now and then is an opportunity for change that needs to be seized in both hands and to ensure Juncker’s understand he needs to also take account of the wishes of the Parliament and the march of democracy.

    We should be aiming for Junckers to be to last EU President appointed by a small cabal of politicians behind closed doors, with all future Presidents being directly elected by voters across the EU. The idea of either the EU Council nominating someone in the expectation the Parliament will rubber stamp there choice, or the parliament appointing someone based simply in the size of their ‘grouping’ in the Parliament, clearly go against democracy and liberal thinking, particularly where those same liberal thinkers want to to reform the house of lords in to a more democratic body…

  • jedibeeftrix 30th Jun '14 - 9:52am
  • Matthew Huntbach 30th Jun '14 - 10:12am

    Tony Greaves

    At a recent meeting I was at, David Steel asked innocently “What’s wrong with Mr Juncker?” Various assembled Important Persons and “Teenage SPaDs” snorted with a round of “What’s Right with him?” and “How many reasons do you want?” but of rational responses were there none.

    Indeed. I am increasingly feeling like I am living in something like the old USSR, with the constant ideological bias in the press, and news so slanted with what is really opinion that one has to regard the lot of it as just a propaganda machine.

    Do ordinary people in this country know who Juncker is and what he is about? I very much doubt it. I suspect that 99% of the population did not even know his name let alone anything about him, until it was decided by the people who run this country to raise him as a “hate figure”, and then we had this massive press campaign to portray him as such. Now we are told things like “In the UK it’s Christmas for Ukip votes likely to be taken off Labour and LibDem as well”, with the idea that the British people have thought this through and know all about it and have taken against it on that basis. No, they’ve been orchestrated into an irrational hatred knowing nothing about it but taught to react in the way George Orwell captured so well in Animal Farm and 1984.

    I’m not saying in all this that I find Juncker in particular the best person for the job, but I find the idea that his election means the whole British people are in outrage so that means we are on the way out of the EU to be ridiculous. There has been no serious thinking through of this, just a few political types using the age-old tactic of inventing a token enemy to distract the attention of the people from what those political types are doing.

  • Matthew Huntbach 30th Jun '14 - 10:27am

    Roland

    We should be aiming for Junckers to be to last EU President appointed by a small cabal of politicians behind closed doors, with all future Presidents being directly elected by voters across the EU.

    But isn’t the whole argument Cameron et al are making against Juncker that he HASN’T been selected by a small cabal of people behind closed doors (i.e. government leaders) and instead has been put in place through the democratically elected European Parliament? Isn’t that how Parliaments works? The party that gets the most seats nominates the executive leader, unless a coalition of others can be formed to nominate an alternative who has majority support on the Parliament? I most certainly do NOT like the idea of a directly elected leader, it is too much like the form of government they had in Italy and Germany in the 1930s. It is surely an important aspect of liberalism that we believe power should be shared and that therefore ultimate power should lie in the hands of representative assemblies.

    Cameron chose to pull his party out of the party which nominated Juncker because that party was insufficently right-wing for him. Indeed, the mainstream European right tends to go under the name “Christian Democrat” and that tends to indicate a sense of social responsibility and care for the less fortunate, rather than the dog-eat-dog worship of money that Cameron’s party is about. Perhaps that indicates why Cameron and those who run this country hate Juncker so much, because he is a reminder of what old-style conservatism was like. When they talk about “EU interference” they often mean things with a social aspect, though they don’t put it that way when whipping up the mob.

    So, is it really the case that the entire British people are united behind Cameron in wanting a much more right-wing politics than the mainstream European political right want? I don’t think so. Rather, I think they haven’t a clue about what they are being whipped up into. “Four legs good, two legs bad, baaaah”.

  • @Matthew – I thought Cameron’s position (until today) against Juncker’s nomination was he wouldn’t of chosen him more fundamentally he wasn’t part of the small cabal in the EU Council that agreed to propose him as the council’s nomination…

    As for the directly elected president, I would add to your list the USA… Remember there is no one in the EU Council, commission or the Parliament currently who can claim to have any legitimate pan-EU mandate from the people and that includes the EPP …

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarThomas 22nd Oct - 10:12am
    Based on what happened during the Canadian election, although Lee's views might have evolved, it is likely that Labour will unearth his past records on...
  • User Avatartheakes 22nd Oct - 10:06am
    Everyone has either said ot done things in their past that they regret or have changed mind on. It is the present and the future...
  • User Avatarexpats 22nd Oct - 10:05am
    David Evans 22nd Oct '19 - 9:09am,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,James (Pugh) – indeed you are absolutely right. How easy it was for our opponents to dupe Nick, Danny...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 22nd Oct - 9:56am
    David Raw 22nd Oct '19 - 9:46am There was a Ferrari dealer in Sevenoaks, but it has closed. We are further down the line, and...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 22nd Oct - 9:53am
    @ Tom Carney, "My first point is that areas are not poor – people are poor." Have you been to Oldham or Walsall recently? In...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 22nd Oct - 9:50am
    22nd Oct '19 - 9:32am Reportedly the N I Assembly not meeting since its most recent election has led to a reduction in their remuneration....