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PM continues bid to block Juncker

David Cameron will continue his fight against the installation of Jean-Claude Juncker in the European Union's top job despite reports that Berlin is forging ahead with the appointment, Downing Street has insisted.

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, sees "no alternative" to the arch-federalist becoming the new president of the European Commission after holding talks with Angela Merkel and the "die is cast", according to The Telegraph.

The German Chancellor wants "to proceed as soon as possible with the appointment" and diplomats have warned that a "battle royal is coming", the newspaper reports.

Mr Cameron and Mrs Merkel have been at loggerheads over the choice of a successor to Jose Manuel Barroso.

Mr Juncker has been put forward by the centre-right European People's Party - the largest grouping in the European Parliament following last month's elections - but is regarded in London as an opponent of reform, whose appointment would make UK departure from the 28-nation bloc more likely.

Private records of talks between Mr Van Rompuy and Mrs Merkel seen by The Telegraph, state: "As matters stand now, Van Rompuy sees no alternative to the appointment of Juncker."

"Short of a complete U-turn by the Chancellor, the die is cast in Berlin."

In an article for the European press last week, Mr Cameron said Brussels must focus on finding an "honest and trusted broker" for the job and rejected attempts of a "backdoor power-grab" aimed at installing Mr Juncker. He claimed that a new selection process had been invented that had not been approved by national parliaments or the European Council.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "President Van Rompuy's consultations across Europe and with the institutions are on-ongoing ahead of the next discussion of the European Council in ten day's time.

"I'm sure that there are a good number of people in and around the European Parliament in particular who will be keen to try and establish what they see as facts on the ground following the European Parliament elections.

"This is why the Prime Minister was making this point... that the European Council needs to be robust in defending the important point of principle. Now, the Prime Minister is going to keep making that point of principle, however much some people in the European Parliament may want him to stop, but he is going to keep making it."


From Belfast Telegraph