EU leaders gather in Stockholm to discuss Juncker’s position
British PM David Cameron, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch PM Mark Rutte along with Swedish PM Reinfeldt have all gathered at the latter’s country residence in Harpsund, near Stockholm, to settle the row over European Commission.
Centre-right leaders from Sweden, Germany, Britain and Netherlands meet in Stockholm to discuss EU reforms.
Reinfeldt has claimed the mini-summit was called to discuss future European reforms and would not tackle the controversial question of Jean-Claude Juncker’s election as head of the European Commission.
However, the choice of participants suggests a clear attempt to pressure Germany and tip the scales against the ex-Luxembourg leader’s appointment.
The British, Dutch and Swedish prime ministers are amongst those who strongly oppose Juncker’s call for a tighter political union between EU members. Except Angela Merkel, who has publicly given support to the candidacy, but is seen willing to discuss other options.
Being the candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP) – the centre-right party that won the highest number of seats in the parliament – Juncker argues he has won the mandate.
However, in order to be appointed the nominee will need a double approval both in the parliament and the Council.
No single country has the power of veto in the European Council, the final decision is made by the European council – comprising of 28 leaders – by qualified majority vote.
The result is due to be announced on 26th June at the EU summit.
The decision of who will lead the European Commission is a hard-felt one, as the candidate will be given the power to influence economic reforms, immigration policies and the ties with the international community.
Experts deem appointment of Juncker would be a hard blow for the British PM and his consensus, already withering after the performance of the Eurosceptic UKIP Party in the European elections.
A similar impasse is also likely to influence the decisions of the German chancellor, who wishes to appease a strong EU partner like the UK but is likely to end up slammed in the German press if support is withdrawn to comply with British demands.
European leaders have until late June to reach a decision, while in the parliament the vote is expected in mid-July.