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Monday, June 02, 2014

Pressure increases on Cameron and allies as Merkel ratchets up support for Juncker

As we have noted before, for all the talk over the next Commission President, it remains anyone’s game and there are a number of candidates in the running.

Everyone's now watching the mixed and vague position of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. To our mind, here is how her position has evolved:
  • 7/8 March 2014 - Lukewarm backing for Juncker as EPP candidate.
  • 27 May 2014 - Reiterates that as per the EU Treaties both the EP and the European Council need to agree, adding that it could be Juncker, but it could also be someone different. 
  • 30 May 2014 - Comes under pressure from German media and coalition partners and offers some more explicit backing for Juncker towards the end of last week.
This has now moved a step further on with Merkel saying the following in a speech in Berlin:
“I can only repeat what I already said: I am working in all talks I’m leading so that Jean Claude Juncker gets the necessary majority in the [European] Council in order to be able to become the next Commission President.”

“In addition I am working for such a decision even when taken controversially – you know the necessary majority; it is a qualified majority – to take place in a European spirit. ‘European spirit’ means that one always has to work on achieving the highest level of agreement.”
To date this is probably the strongest backing she has given Juncker and importantly it implies she is actively working for a majority in the European Council to support him and would take a 'controversial' decision. As is her nature, she adds a crucial qualification: she prefers a consensus.

As we pointed out in our previous post, Prime Minister David Cameron will need to get one more large country on side if he is to block Juncker. Germany is looking less and less likely, not least because Merkel would actively annoy her coalition partners and much of the media if she ends up blocking Juncker.

Her speech continues to include nods to Cameron and shows signs she still wants to keep him close and involved in the discussions. Did Merkel intend for this to happen or is this the point when one of her trademark broader strategies - in the this case qualified support for Juncker before dropping him as part of a wider deal - has finally backfired.

This is genuinely an open question - we suspect that anyone claiming to know the answer to that question at this juncture is a bit economical with the truth.


Jesper said...

Another couple of twists might be possible :-)

The Swedish government is opposing Juncker, the Swedish government parties are in the EPP. The Swedish candidates for the EPP in the EP-election were during the campaign against the creation of a federal superstate.

How can the elected EPs stick to their promise to work against the creation of a federal superstate while voting for a federalist to become commission president?

Juncker says he wants to unite Europe, yet he seems to be causing more tension in Europe and causing it to drift apart. Would someone who truly wanted to unite Europe want to continue to cause tension?

Is the EPP completely tied into Juncker as their candidate? Will parties who oppose Juncker be kicked out of EPP?

Average Englishman said...

The fundamental flaw with the approach being adopted by Juncker and supported by Germany and others is that their approach to European unity relies upon force from an unelected centralised elite rather than just leaving the countries of Europe to grow together naturally, as per the rest of the countries in the World.

Zeh hav a masterplan and it will be obeyed! You vill be good little Europeans with your own nice little flag and anthem and your economies will all be run like Germany's (because we all know that's best dears now don't we). How stupid, short sighted and unsophisticated.

They profess to be doing this in the name of peace and to stop any more European wars but I cannot think off hand of a better way to start a conflict than this dictatorial approach. I am frankly amazed that the Greeks, Spanish, etc., youth have not done so already; it is a tribute to them that they have kept their heads thus far.

25% of the electorate want it different already and that percentage will only get larger. Ignore the ballot box at your peril Mr Juncker/Mrs Merkel. It is worth remembering that the IRA only had the support of 5% of the population in Northern Ireland during 'The Troubles' and telling them all what to do went well now didn't it? (Oh and by the way MI5, that's just an observation on my part not a veiled threat, I have neither the inclination nor the time to embark upon guerrilla warfare).

Jesper said...

The situation is a good illustration of the ancient wisdom: Man cannot serve more than one master.

The party-whip from Sweden will demand that the EPs do not support Juncker.
The party-whip from Brussels will demand that the EPs do support Juncker.
The electorate in Sweden will demand that the EPs honour their election promises.

Which master to disappoint?

And a bit off topic: Yep, I believe matrix-organisations can't work. But tell that to someone whose job depends on the existence of the matrix-organisation... It creates plenty of well paying jobs for management consultants and managers ;-)

christhai said...

For so long as the EU and its sycophantic supporters try to pretend that the EU is actually some sort of vague democratic organisation things will never get better -peacefully.

Just LOOK at the choice of candidates.

Two persons deeply involved in fraud and a drunk who according to himself sees telling lies is part of the job.

In ten years the EU will be but a distant and bitter memory -what a pity we have to go through these terrible trials to get there.

End it now.

un said...

What must be deeply depressing for those who want to stay in a reformed Europe is the basis of Juncker's claim which is that he has "democratic legitimacy". The argument that because there is no "European demos" there were 28 separate elections and in only in a few did the Juncker v Schulz issue feature, is totally ignored. "Juncker has been democratically elected and Cameron is being undemocratic."

How can you reason with such religious fanatics where truth is determined by faith not evidence?

Rollo said...

sums up what Merkel thinks of Cameron: the same as we do, a damp dish-rag.