Juncker to re­ject Cameron’s Com­mis­sion re­form plan

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The leading can­di­date for the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dency, Jean-Claude Juncker, has re­jected a re­quest by UK Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron that the next Bri­tish com­mis­sioner be given charge of a “clus­ter” of key portfolios, the news and pol­icy site EurAc­tiv has learned.

Cameron, who op­poses Juncker’s Com­mis­sion bid, has re­quested that the fu­ture Bri­tish Com­mis­sioner be given the post of Com­mis­sion Vice-Pres­i­dent in charge of over­see­ing a “clus­ter” of portfolios com­pris­ing the in­ter­nal mar­ket, com­pe­ti­tion, trade and en­ergy.

In ad­di­tion, Lon­don wants the strate­gic post of Com­mis­sion Sec­re­tary Gen­eral for a Bri­tish na­tional, and other “small things”, two sources told EurAc­tiv. The pro­posal was pre­sented as a trade-off in which Cameron would ac­cept that Juncker gets the Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent seat.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to sources, Juncker has re­jected Cameron’s de­mand, while Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel is re­port­edly push­ing for a de­ci­sion by qual­i­fied ma­jor­ity vote in the Coun­cil, in which Cameron is ex­pected to be out-voted.

At least 55% of EU coun­tries rep­re­sent­ing at least 65% of the pop­u­la­tion is re­quired to ob­tain a qual­i­fied ma­jor­ity, a thresh­old which would be eas­ily at­tained with­out the UK and the few other coun­tries which could de­cide to back Lon­don. Juncker’s po­si­tion is likely to please most EU lead­ers, who fear “clus­ters” of Com­mis­sion­ers could dwarf their na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The “clus­ters” would com­mis­sioner sta­tus to Com­mis­sion­ers, while the give four rest a su­per

or five would be rel­e­gated to ju­nior an­swer­able both to Pres­i­dent and the Com­mis­sioner”.

Ac­cord­ing to the ad­vo­cates of the “clus­ter Com­mis­sion­ers”, some ju­nior Com­mis­sion­ers would not even have a cab­i­net, which nor­mally have a staff of around 30 people. While some smaller EU coun­tries could ac­cept the sta­tus of “ju­nior Com­mis­sion­ers”, big­ger coun­tries are likely to see this as an of­fense. “Just imag­ine a French ‘ju­nior Com­mis­sioner’ work­ing un­der a Bri­tish ‘clus­ter Com­mis­sioner’ – no way”, a diplo­mat said. The idea of “clus­ters of Com­mis­sion­ers” or “su­per Com­mis­sion­ers” has al­ready been raised dur­ing the for­ma­tion of the first Bar­roso Com­mis­sion in 2004 but did not ma­te­ri­alise.

Cameron has threat­ened that Bri­tain would ad­vance a ref­er­en­dum on the UK’s EU mem­ber­ship if Juncker is ap­pointed Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent.

EU lead­ers are ex­pected to make a de­ci­sion on the next Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent dur­ing a sum­mit on June 26-27.

The Euro­pean par­lia­ment will hold a con­fi­dence vote on the cho­sen can­di­date, pos­si­bly as early as on July 15.

Com­mis­sion­ers, the Com­mis­sion re­spec­tive “clus­ter

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