The nation that supplied Baroness Ashton to head EU foreign policy describes Juncker as a non-entity. This causes much mirth in Brussels. One fact that the British media have singularly failed to address is that UKREP Brussels (the UK’s Embassy to the EU) has reported that Juncker is believed to be sympathetic to the idea of continuing Scottish membership of the EU after independence. That makes sense given his record as an EU expansionist and his own background from the small independent state of Luxembourg. It helps explain Cameron’s furious opposition.
The Tories’ frenetic attempts to find an alternative candidate to Juncker are floundering. This is in part because of a fundamental illogicality in the British position. Cameron claims that he wants to reform the EU in part to address its “democratic deficit”. But he wants to start by cancelling the most important democratic advance the EU has made – that the Commission President should be nominated by the winning party in the European Parliament elections. On top of which, in 2010 Cameron pulled the Conservatives out of that winning party in order to form an alliance with the anti-semites of Poland’s Law and Justice party. He now wants this losing party to choose the Commission President.
The Tories are hoping Merkel can produce an alternative candidate from Central and Eastern Europe. The problem is that the parties like Civic Platform in Poland which are in the winning European People’s Party in the European Parliament and in government, are anathema to the right wing loonies with whom the British Tories are grouped. As a result the names being canvassed by UKREP Brussels are now so obscure as to make Junckers look like Ronaldo, and British diplomats are being obliged to extol the virtues of obscure Czech politicians that they have never heard of. Meanwhile Carl Bildt is quietly involved in pushing on Merkel a candidate directly involved in the persecution of Julian Assange. My money is still on Juncker.