BERLIN (Reuters) – British Prime Minister David Cameron has warned he would no longer be able to guarantee that Britain would remain a member of the European Union if European leaders elect Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission chief, Germany’s Spiegel said.
The European Commission president is selected by EU leaders but must be approved by the assembly, where Eurosceptics from the right made gains in last week’s election. The European People’s Party, which won the most seats in the vote, had chosen Luxembourg’s ex-premier Juncker as their candidate.
In a pre-publication copy of an article, Spiegel said Cameron had explained, on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels on Tuesday, that if Juncker became Commission president, he would no longer be able to ensure Britain’s continued EU membership.
The magazine said participants understood Cameron’s comments on the sidelines of the meeting to mean that a majority vote for Juncker could destabilise his government to the extent that an “in-out” referendum would have to be brought forward.
That in turn, they understood, would most likely lead to the British people voting to quit the EU, it said.
A spokesman at the prime minister’s office declined to comment on the Spiegel article.
But Juncker called on the majority of leaders not to bow to pressure from the minority in their decision, according to an advance extract of an article due to be published in Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper today.
“Europe must not allow itself to be blackmailed,” Juncker said, adding that a broad majority of Christian Democratic and socialist leaders in the European Council backed him.