This afternoon Britain will be once more isolated from mainland Europe

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande (from right to left). The British PM doesn’t seem to have convinced the French leader, who has obviously lost interest in the discussion and looks the other way for a chance to escape the English narrative. (European Council – Council of the EU Newsroom).

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande (from right to left). The British PM doesn’t seem to have convinced the French leader, who has obviously lost interest in the discussion and looks the other way for a chance to escape the English narrative. (European Council – Council of the EU Newsroom).

This morning the European Council will carry out an unprecedented procedure. The 28 EU leaders are supposed to nominate Jean-Claude Juncker as candidate for European Commission President by qualified majority, in a vote that has never taken place before. Then, Juncker, or an unlikely other candidate has to be also approved by the MEPs. Up to now the next Commission President was unanimously elected for the next five years in a consensus, achieved in the Council, after negotiations behind closed doors.

As things stand now the next Commission President is to be elected according to the provisions of the new EU Treaty (the Treaty of Lisbon). Under this light, the main European parliamentary groups, which participated in the European elections of last May, had named their candidates for the EU top job many weeks in advance. Jean-Claude Juncker (Luxembourgish) was nominated by the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), Martin Schulz (German) by the center-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D), Guy Verhofstadt (Belgian) by the liberals (ALDE), Ska Keller (German) by the Greens and Alexis Tsipras (Greek) was proposed by the European Left.

A general political consensus

On 15 May, ahead of the elections of the 25th of this month, in an also quite exceptional occasion, all those politicians participated in a TV debate. This extraordinary event was hosted by the European Broadcasting Union and shown on 49 TV channels in 24 languages. At the end of the debate the five candidates agreed that, “one of us will be the next President of the European Commission”. This was not only a promise to voters, but it also constituted a general political consensus of the five more important European party leaders. All five of them solemnly agreed to support the one of them, who’s party would win the race.

In this sense, the 500 millions of European citizens became aware that they were about to elect not only their MEPs but at the same time the next President of the European Commission. The five political groups that those statesmen represented had the absolute majority in the previous Parliament, and as it turned out, they retained it in the new one.

Juncker won the race

The center-right EPP came first in the May electoral confrontation and Jean-Claude Juncker rightfully asked to be the first to seek the approval of the Parliament as next Commission President. However, according to the EU Treaty, the candidate had to be firstly endorsed by the European Council of the 28 EU leaders and then appear in the legislative. On 2nd June, the European Sting in its leader article observed that, “According to the EU Treaty’s provision, Juncker has the right of the first try in the Parliament… In fact, the Treaty of Lisbon doesn’t ‘suggest’, it clearly states the procedure to be followed in the election of the Commission President”.

Cameron chose to oppose the EU Treaty

Despite all that, the British Prime Minister David Cameron chose to vehemently oppose Juncker’s candidacy for the EU Presidency. In this way he challenged the Treaty of the EU, but as it turns out, the British Conservative leader also chose to oppose an almost unanimous mainland support for Juncker. The Brit managed to secure only the backing of the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, whose company many European leaders would avoid.

On the other side of the fence, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel after some initial hesitations, finally decided to wholeheartedly back Juncker. Merkel also managed to secure the support of practically all the mainland leaders. Even Holland and Sweden that initially flirted with Britain finally decided to abandon London and decided not to test the unity of the EU.

Still, Cameron said last Monday that he will press the EU leaders to hold a vote, in case they nominate former Luxembourg Prime Minister to be president of the European Commission. Cameron succeeded, after exerting strong pressures, to get the backing of his country’s Labour Party. But this can’t offer him any help in tomorrow’s European Council, where the British PM will find out that only Orban is likely minded. Not a consolation in any respect.

Britain risks much, not the EU

Many commentators, especially those writing in mainstream English language media, insist that this conflict and the very probable endorsement of Juncker, will constitute a strong blow to the European Union. They say that nothing will be the same in the European Union after crowding out Britain. This is not true at all. An almost unanimous continental vote against Cameron’s aggressive option will certainly hurt Britain, but not the European Union.

Britain, under Cameron, has been staging many Quixote fights in Brussels, mostly for internal political reasons. After he pulled his party out from the EPP Parliamentary group some years ago, he discovered to his dismay that his country was left out from the mainstream European developments in the center-right political universe. After that, when in Brussels for a summit, Cameron couldn’t find a fellow leader to have a beer with in the evening. His loneliness and strong objections didn’t prevent the EU to introduce groundbreaking new institutions like the European Banking Union and the European Army. This time too, the EU will get along despite some ugly compromises and Juncker could be the next Commission President.

It was like that in December 2011, when Cameron challenged the creation of the European Army with all he had and again in December 2012 when he alone opposed the conception of the European Banking Union. After that, he has spent many lonely nights in Brussels while attending EU Summits, paying the price of staging hopeless fights in Brussels, in order to support his always crumbling position in British politics.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

No great discovery was made without a bold guess – Isaac Newton

Ocean life faces ‘onslaught of threats’ from human activity, but tools exist to save it

How technology is driving a fourth wave of environmentalism

Sweden is fighting loneliness by housing older and younger generations together

Japan must urgently address long-standing concerns over foreign bribery enforcement

EU@UNGA 74: Working towards a more peaceful, secure and prosperous world

Do men and women really have different leadership styles?

INTERVIEW: Advancing human rights, a ‘never ending process’ says new UN rights chief

How regenerative agroforestry could solve the climate crisis

How has policy affected employment in small businesses in the US?

Young people demand a transparent job market: new campaign launches on international interns day

Brexit: Is there anybody supporting a non-violent separation?

Spring 2019 Standard Eurobarometer: Europeans upbeat about the state of the European Union – best results in 5 years

Mental health in the times of coronavirus

Juncker’s Investment Plan in desperate need for trust and funds from public and private investors

Parliament gives green light to EU-Singapore trade and investment protection deals

COVID-19 will hit the developing world’s cities hardest. Here’s why

Countering illegal hate speech online – EU Code of Conduct ensures swift response

Syrian Refugees in Germany face distinctly different challenges than those in Lebanon

Somalia: UN congratulates Puntland region’s newly-elected President

Reflections on the the biggest refugee crisis since World War II

FROM THE FIELD: Hardy seeds bear fruit to protect Colombia’s environment

UN health agency welcomes Facebook pledge to stop vaccine misinformation from going viral

European Elections: “Web giants” are urging users to vote

Huge areas of the Arctic are on fire – here’s what that means for the planet

Commission presents first reflections on building a strong social Europe for just transitions

Hostilities in Syria’s southwest, mean cuts in vital aid across Jordanian border: Senior UN official

These 4 skills can make the world better after COVID-19

3 leaders on creating a pipeline for female talent in business

Commission deepens criticism on German economic policies

EU deserves the title of the Syrian affair merchandiser

Erdogan’s electoral win on a ‘me or chaos’ dilemma means trouble for everybody

This is what happens when a school swaps french fries for quinoa

Who is to pay for Trump’s trade war against China?

COVID-19: MEPs urge quick action to prevent “huge recession”

Turkey to let EU alone struggle with the migrant crisis while enhancing its economic ties with Russia instead?

Universal Health Coverage in the EU: Are we really leaving no one behind?

Topic: Mental Health in times of pandemic: What can each individual do to lessen the burden?

Antitrust: Aspen proposes 73% price reduction for six off-patent cancer medicines to remove Commission’s excessive pricing concerns

Trump declares emergency and WHO urges speed – latest coronavirus updates

It’s ‘time for concrete action’ says UN chief, welcoming inter-Korean agreement

European Commission launches global coalition for biodiversity

Coronavirus: 23 new research projects to receive €128 million in EU funding

Climate change: won or lost in cities or by cities?

Ending extreme poverty crucial to sustainable future for all: UN chief

How Japan and Singapore are reinventing old age

Simple Technology Saving Lives: Remote Auscultation

A Sting Exclusive: Towards better business opportunities for the EU and its neighbours, Commissioner Hahn live from European Business Summit 2015

UN chief welcomes South Sudan’s Unity government, lauds parties for ‘significant achievement’

Spring 2020 Economic Forecast: A deep and uneven recession, an uncertain recovery

Migration: Commission steps up emergency assistance to Spain and Greece

Nuclear test ban treaty critical to global collective security – UN chief

Protecting Health Workers’ Safety Around the World

Human traffickers in Libya are posing as UN staff, says Refugee Agency

“If the job market doesn’t exist, then even the most brilliant Youth Guarantee cannot ensure a job to these young people”, European Youth Forum Secretary General Giuseppe Porcaro on another Sting Exclusive

A new generation of women leaders is making waves in the Arab world

Do the EU policies on agro-food smell?

EU and China seize momentum to enhance trade agreements in response to Trump’s administration

Businesses succeed internationally

International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s