- The Washington Times - Friday, June 27, 2014

EU officials have nominated former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker to serve as president of the European Commission for the next five years, despite the open opposition of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Breaking with traditional nomination protocol, Mr. Cameron pushed for a vote on Mr. Juncker after officials could not reach a consensus, hoping that other’s would oppose his nomination, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But 26 out of 28 countries backed Mr. Juncker, with only Britain and Hungary opposed.

Mr. Cameron and other “euroskeptics” argued that Mr. Juncker represents old-school Brussels-centered “eureaucracy,” and warned officials of the negative effects Mr. Juncker’s nomination would have on British public opinion of the EU.

“I’ve told EU leaders they could live to regret the new process for choosing the Commission president. I’ll always stand up for UK interests,” Mr. Cameron tweeted Friday morning.

The British newspaper The Guardian reported that Mr. Cameron condemned a “backroom deal” to appoint Mr. Juncker. The Luxembourg leader leads the European People’s Party, whose win in last month’s European parliamentary elections catapulted him to nomination for Commission leadership.

Britain is already debating whether or not it will maintain EU membership. Increasing skepticism became more apparent in the last British elections when the Conservative Party saw voted siphoned off to the euroskeptic UK Independence Party.

Now Mr. Cameron, who heads the Conservative Party, has vowed to hold a voter referendum to decide the future of the Britain’s role in the EU if he is re-elected prime minister next year.

Labor Party head Ed Miliband told the Guardian that Mr. Juncker’s nomination is an embarrassing blow to Mr. Cameron’s campaign, saying that the British population is losing faith in the prime minister’s ability to sway European political decisions.

“If Mr Juncker is appointed today, it represents – after weeks of spin and bluster from the prime minister – a total failure to deliver and an utter humiliation,” Mr. Miliband said. 

The vote also indicated discord between Britain and Germany, as Ms. Merkel in the end rebuffed British efforts to block Mr. Juncker’s candidacy.

Next week the newly elected European Parliament will have its first meeting and will most likely vote to confirm Mr. Juncker’s nomination.