Cameron Rocks Merkel’s Boat At EU Talks

Tradition has it that when leaders visit the Swedish country residence of Harpsund, the Prime Minister rows them out on to the lake.

So on a sunny Monday evening Sweden’s Fredrick Reinfeldt cast off with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Holland’s Mark Rutte and Prime Minister David Cameron.

The images of leaders in life jackets rowing round in circles lent themselves to many metaphors but the tranquil lake hardly set the scene for the discussions ahead.

Mr Cameron has suggested the UK might cut adrift from Europe if Jean-Claude Juncker becomes the next president of the European Commission.

The former prime minister of Luxembourg is favoured by MrsMerkel but considered too federalist by Mr Cameron.

Ahead of his boat ride, the British PM said: “This meeting today is really about content, about what Europe should be doing in the next few years.

“But I would just make this important point of principle, which is that as the democratically elected leaders of Europe, we should be the ones who choose who should run these institutions, rather than accept some new process, which was never agreed.”

The Prime Minister is referring to the fact that many, including MrsMerkel, believe MrJuncker is the democratic choice because he has been put forward by the largest group in the European Parliament – the European People’s Party (EPP).

It was set out in the Lisbon Treaty that European leaders should “take into account the elections to the European Parliament” when proposing their candidate for the European Commission presidency and therefore it is argued that the recent European election result for EPP was also a vote for MrJuncker.

Mr Cameron disagrees with this interpretation and says it is quite the opposite to what Europe’s voters want. But having stated this, it may become a litmus test to how well he can negotiate the rest of what he wants in Europe.

What is more, the battle over personalities could set the framework for the Prime Minister’s crucial wrangling over wider reforms.

It equally sets a challenge for MrsMerkel. She has committed to MrJuncker publicly and will face charges of deception and betrayal back in Germany if she drops him.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, however, London’s Mayor Boris Johnson suggested everyone is getting too bogged down over one individual and one job.

“It doesn’t make much difference who is installed at the top,” he wrote, adding that debating the issue was “like trying to swat a fly on the leg of the rhino that is standing on your chest”.

One aide to the Prime Minister responded by saying: “He’d be the first to complain if a Commission’s President started doing things he didn’t want.”

9 June 2014 | 9:58 pm – Source:

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