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Will EU reform itself?

Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 02:10

EU leaders will vote on a new Commission President on Friday and the UK is still vowing to object to the favoured candidate Jean-Claude Juncker. Joanna Partridge looks the prospects for EU reform after a recent shock parliamentary election result.

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The man of the moment. Jean-Claude Juncker arrives at the meeting of the centre-right European People's Party, ahead of a EU leaders' summit. He's hoping to be appointed to the EU's top job - Commission President - before the week is out. Most European leaders have now got behind him, including Germany's Angela Merkel. One increasingly lone voice of dissent - Britain's David Cameron. He believes Juncker is too keen on European integration - and won't listen to voters' calls for reform, as expressed in the European elections last month. SOUNDBITE: David Cameron, British Prime Minister, saying (English): "I believe that the European Commission president should be chosen by the elected heads of government, heads of state, on the European Council. That is the right approach and it is wrong to sign up to this power grab by the parties of Europe and the European Parliament. I also think it is important that the people involved understand that we need reform in Europe and it doesn't matter how hard I have to push this case, I will take it all the way to the end." Cameron's attempts to rally support have fallen flat. The Swedish and Dutch leaders initially shared his reservations, but now won't block Juncker. Tom Vosa from National Australia Bank says Britain's isolation could even endanger its EU membership. SOUNDBITE: Tom Vosa, Head of Market Economics, National Australia Bank, saying (English): "I doubt there'll be any reform in the EU, it's clearly an institution incapable of doing so. And I think certainly Juncker, plus what looks to be a fairly minor post for a UK official in the Commission, probably increases the chances of Brexit in 2016 or indeed 2017. This Europe, deals have been done. Everyone else has used the UK's isolation to try to get a better job for their candidate in terms of the plum Commission posts." One of those deals - Germany offered Italy a gentler interpretation of EU budget rules - to encourage Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to support Juncker's nomination. Ahead of the summit, a moment of European unity, with a visit to Ypres to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One. But the deep disgareement over who should head up their most important joint institution may also have lasting repercussions.

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Will EU reform itself?

Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 02:10

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