David Cameron as an obstacle for democracy?

Refusing the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as the President of the European Commission, British Prime Minister has a clear position on the European Union: open, flexible, competitive union, but with lack of democracy. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s strategy consists in privileging his own interests rather than the European ones. His current position has the objective to promote his European Union visions in order to prepare for the referendum in 2017. Advancing dubious arguments David Cameron questions the European democracy. 

David Cameron, dubious arguments to conceal the refusal of any integration policy

Considering the Treaties of the European Union, the article 17 explains that the Heads of the State and Government shall propose a president of the European Commission taking into account the results of the European elections. The Parliament acting by majority of its component members will then take decision whether to valid this choice or not. In this occasion and in case of victory, the European Parliament parties chose a leader who will represent them at the Commission level. As the European People’s Party preserved the leadership in the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Juncker most likely should be elected the President of the European Commission.

But according to David Cameron, this faculty was never ratified or negotiated in the EU. The Spitzenkandidaten system ("lead candidates" system that makes matters more logic and transparent) doesn’t rest on any institutional basis. He adds that the low electoral participation do not allow to observe in clear way the European wish. In an open letter to Angela Merkel on 13th of June, he refers to the fact that Mr. Juncker is not included in any ballot paper and that’s why he does not have any legitimacy. This criticism is explained by the desire to keep the Commission impartial in this situation and avoid involving it in the policy game.

Cameron judges Jean-Claude Juncker as an out-of-date man

Finally, another argument carried on by David Cameron is the old age and the freshness. He judges Jean-Claude Juncker as an out-of-date man”, but Cameron is wishing a person who can launch reforms, stimulate the economic growth and provide the link between the Europe and the member states. Clearly, he should be a good intermediary.

We can make a report to David Cameron, driven only by his country’s goals, that electing his own candidate will strengthen only UK power in EU, but this candidate will not represent the interests of the European citizens. The turnout of voters announced by the European Parliament was

43, 11% in 2014 that means a higher voting attendance in comparison with the previous elections in 2009. Besides, Luxemburg voters this year could show a record with 90% voting attendance in the country. Furthermore, Jean-Claude Juncker was the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, President of the World Bank between 1989 and 1995 and President of the Eurogroup 2005 - 2008 and 2010 - 2010.

In fact, the expression “out-of-date man” hides the genuine thought of David Cameron: the refusal of any integration policy (as it is explained by Manfred Weber, the new European People’s Party president). In order to suggest a new candidate, it would require a qualified majority represents that make up at least 55% of member countries, which is equivalent to 65% of the total population of the EU. Therefore, this can be reach without the United Kingdom and Cameron’s eventual allies.

David Cameron, personal goals contradict the European Democracy

His arguments are particularly unsuccessful as David Cameron uses the blackmail against Jean-Claude Juncker. Indeed, he desires to nominate Andrew Lansley, a future British European Commissioner and moderate Eurosceptique to vice-presidency of the European Commission and also preferably a British General Secretary. If he meets the obligation of accepting Jean-Claude Juncker as a President, David Cameron will exert pressure on the European Commission in order to dictate his rules as well, knowing that the EC has an exclusive competency in the competition policy, Cameron’s strategy consists in grabbing and controlling some part of the European Union. 

In the last week of May the European citizens gave their votes for the European People’s Party (EPP). But the party has not got the qualified majority; therefore Juncker will be approved in the European Council only with the qualified majority. It might be possible a coalition in favour of Martin Schulz or Guy Verhofstadt. Anyway, it is necessary for David Cameron to understand that about 380 millions of Europeans were called to vote and their decision should be highly influential in the first place. "... For domestic reasons David Cameron needs to make his opposition to 'unacceptable' candidates as clear as possible," said Alex White, an analyst at J.P. Morgan in a note at the beginning of June.

Finally, the European Commission can only take the concluding decision, and the solution of the problem will depend from the strength and liability of the European Commission that carries on the democratic engagement and the civic participation of the Europeans. It is possible that the European Union can take a hard blow to the democracy and that should be avoided.


Photo credits: Conservative Party
Edited by:
Natalia Ghincul