Coffee House

The most awkward phone-call ever? Cameron congratulates Jean-Claude Juncker

29 June 2014

In an exchange so awkward it might rival Gwendolen and Cecily’s afternoon tea in The Importance of Being Earnest, David Cameron has this afternoon phoned Jean-Claude Juncker to congratulate him on his appointment after weeks of campaigning to thwart him. Here’s the Downing Street read-out of the call:

‘The Prime Minister called the Commission President-designate, Jean-Claude Juncker, this afternoon. The Prime Minister congratulated Mr Juncker on running a successful campaign and securing the Council nomination. They discussed how they would work together to make the EU more competitive and more flexible. The PM welcomed Mr Juncker’s commitment of finding a fair deal for Britain and Mr Juncker said that he was fully committed to finding solutions for the political concerns of the UK. The PM wished Mr Juncker well with the hearings in the European Parliament and they agreed to speak further at the next European Council on 16 July.’

Fabulous awkwardness aside, the line ‘the PM welcomed Mr Juncker’s commitment of finding a fair deal for Britain’ and Juncker’s apparent commitment to ‘finding solutions for the political concerns of the UK’ is the most important bit of this read-out. It’s important for Downing Street to make clear that losing the Juncker battle is not the same as losing the overall fight for reform. Cameron also needs to show that his aggressive campaign against Juncker hasn’t stymied his chances of working well with the new European Commission president, and that therefore it will look the right decision in the long-term. But it’s early days yet, and as Gwendolen and Cecily knew, it doesn’t matter what you’re saying to your companion if you’re doing exactly the opposite.

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  • TrulyDisqusted

    So keen to follow in the footsteps of Russia and since Yeltsin is sadly no longer with us, the EU select Junker as President of the EU Commission!

    Let’s just say that if Junker is half as entertaining as Yeltsin, his 24/7 personal recording crew will probably end up sleeping with the fishes….

  • Mick Norris

    How long will Tories go along with this charade of Cameron? The longer it goes on the longer UKIP will increase its vote, and Labour will win next election hands down.

    At that point, there is no reason why UKIP does not become the genuine home of Euroscepticism.

    Are the Tories really this stupid they can not see where Cameron is leading them?

  • Mynydd

    Yet another Cameron U-turn; before the vote he said Juncker will not allow EU reform, now he says Juncker will act on Cameron’s reforms.

  • swatnan

    Pity Mort Sahl isn’t around anymore. Just bimagine the conversation: ‘ Hi Jean Claude …. great to have you….. didn’t really mean all that stuff…. you know politics and keeping the bloody minded skeptiks happy ….etc. Listen we must get together and smoke a few potatoes together…’

  • BigAl

    You get what you don’t vote for…..

  • Kitty MLB

    Cameron having to congratulate this loathesome toad…Juncker
    I hope he trips the smirking deceitful little man up and the rest
    of the EU cowards at the same time.
    I Shall say it again, there will be no renegotiations for the UK with
    this man and no EU reform, he’s not about individual countries
    and we’ll just have to leave their rotten United States of Europe,
    That they have chosen by chosing him.

  • global city

    Isabel. Please use your undoubted journalistic talents to see what sort of deal Juncker has already said that he would be happy to offer the UK.

    The problem for Cameron it is much more substantial than the Tories actually want….which is not a lot.

    Go on… do some digging and write a proper article for next week?

  • beenzrgud

    Maybe they should call again tomorrow morning, early in the morning. I understand that the afternoon isn’t the best time for Juncker (the sot).

  • Curnonsky

    If the core EU nations – the ones that anointed Juncker – have to choose between turning away from “ever-closer union” in order to preserve British membership, or accepting that the goal of the EU Superstate and British membership are fundamentally incompatible, which do you think they will pick?

    By pushing through Juncker over Cameron’s objections they have made their answer clear. The only one not to get it is Cameron himself.

  • misomiso

    Get us out of Freedom of Movement Dave, then you’ll get my vote.

    • HookesLaw

      Norway is not in the EU but conforms to EU freedom of movement.
      The EU freedom of movement is for work and the rules are clear about that. There is no reason why they cannot be made more restrictive but Cameron has already spoken about this.
      But Britain has ‘suffered’ more than most about this since it was virtually the only EU country in 2004 which did not take advantage of transitory arrangements so any one from the accession countries only had one possible destination – the UK.
      All this was thanks to crass stupidity by Labour and its probably coloured peoples views.
      In reality figures show that 90% of new jobs went to British nationals. The number of migrant workers from outside Europe feall by 40,000 last year.
      The real need is for the Eurozon economies to improve so there is employment for their indiginoue workers and we need to recreate the work ethic for those stuck on welfare.

      • Wessex Man

        Why then were 260,000 NI numbers requested by EU ‘citizens’ when according to Home Office figures there were 200,000 too many from the EU arriving in the last year. It really is time for you to get a bit more anti EU like you boss Call me Dave, well that’s how Downing Street are spinning it.

      • Blindsideflanker

        Norway? And your point is?

        As for the rest you seem a little confused, on the one hand you are claiming that East European mass immigration was a mistake, the next you are trying to minimise the effect it is having.

        Cameron keeps on trying to side track the mass immigration issue onto benefit tourism, when it is always about numbers in an over populated country.

      • Mynydd

        “but Cameron has already spoken about this” that’s right all talk, talk no action.

      • DWWolds

        That figure of 90% of new jobs going to British nationals only applies recently. I believe you will find that when Labour was in power it was reversed. And we all know that the real need is for the Eurozone economies to improve but that is hardly likely to happen in the foreseeable future is it?

    • goatmince

      … says the pensioner who had that right all his life and now wishes to deny that same right to his offspring. You cannot get more cretinously fascist than that.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …unless it’s you and your army of fascist sockpuppets, eh laddie?

        • goatmince

          … unless you too were a pensioner who had that right all his life and now wished to deny his offspring that very same right. We know for certain that you would be cretinously fascist.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …nobody’s quite figured out how to be as fascist as you and your sockpuppet army nutters, eh lad?

          • Colonel Mustard

            Pensioner 65+. 2014 – 65 = 1949. Right of freedom of movement in Europe “all his life”? Think again sockpuppet. The reality was quite different from the leftofascist EU propaganda your Maggie-hating left wing lecturers brainwashed you with in your left wing university.

            Why even in 1969 Wilson’s soviet-subverted Labour government restricted foreign currency exchange and the amount that could be taken abroad on holiday to £50. Your pensioner would have been 20+ years old then (gap year age if there had been such a thing as gap years then).


            So none of your revisionist bollox please.

            • goatmince

              Pensioners of that era retired at 65?
              What went wrong?

              • Colonel Mustard

                Is that really the best you can do?

                • goatmince

                  as the army man you claim to be you must now admit that you have been found … lying.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  How so? My comment was intended to illustrate that a pensioner (65+ now) has not had that right “all his life”. How exactly is that lying?

                • goatmince

                  65+? What an entirely arbitrary figure. Not a single person in any respected profession is known to mankind to have retired at that age.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Of course an arbitrary figure. You originally presumed a “pensioner” without specifying an age and asserted that said pensioner would have known free movement all his life.

                  I illustrated that a pensioner aged 65+ in 2014 would not have known that. Even a pensioner aged 55 in 2014 would not have known that all his life (1959). Ergo you were writing bollox.

                  Now you are bobbing and weaving trying to forge another argument.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Nah, when I was younger you couldn’t go to Prague for a stag night or wander through the Stasi offices in East Germany and the only Romanians turning up here were defectors on security services chartered flights. Your comrades and fellow travellers had very firm ideas about freedom of movement then. In fact they had very firm ideas about freedom full stop. Cretinously fascist some might have called it.

        • goatmince

          Indeed, Colonel. And how happy we all must be that this thing ended. Or are we, really?

          • Colonel Mustard

            Every silver lining has a cloud attached to it. The “fall” of the Soviet Union whilst superficially welcome presaged the advance of communism by other means. Of which you and your other sock puppets are prime examples.

            • goatmince

              The ‘advance of communism by other means’ is something Britain is very good at. I explained it many times – the socialising of losses it pure communism. I explained it many many times.

  • Andy

    Waste of a telephone call.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Well, Dave had to apologize, you know.

      A principled leader would not have made that call, but Dave is sending a message to the EUSSR kommissars, that he’s with them still.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Oh dear now Hardman is spinning lip-service as substance. Can she get more desperate? What an EU despot considers ‘ a fair deal for Britain’ (e.g. say scrapping the rebate) and what we consider a fair deal for Britain could not potentially be further apart.

    No matter how much Hardman and her type spin it there is no consolation prize for Dave. This act of muscle flexing by the EPP and the Socialists in the EU Parliament directly undermines the power of National leaders and their governments. Expect many more to come as ever closer union comes to fruition

    Cameron has little room for manoeuvre now. If he is to retain sovereignty for the British Government and the nation he must set a course for withdrawal. Failure by him and any of his successors to complete such a course will be a betrayal of the nation!

    I still can’t get over it, in such matters Nigel Farage has more direct influence than Dave. Well knock me down with a feather

    • telemachus

      It is what else that comes with Farage that worries us all
      Britain has hitherto been a tolerant Nation
      But we saw the beginnings with the Billboards before the EU elections
      We are beginning to see the stirrings of the Battle of Cable Street
      We need to stop this all before we have our own Krystallnacht

      • Blindsideflanker

        Oh don’t be ridiculous. The only Krystallnacht we have had here is when Muslims burnt books in Parliament square. And as for this tolerance what you want is capitulation and moral cowardice. Capitulation to mass immigration without the right to object to it, and moral cowardice where we can’t object to backward cultures being given equivalence to our own.

        • Colonel Mustard

          It’s the classic Cooperism of using hyperbolic emotive language to try to shut down debate. Have qualms about unlimited freedom of movement into the UK from impoverished former Eastern Bloc states? Then you must be a wicked embryonic n**i who wants to set up concentration camps for Romanians. It seeks to put an absolute moral temperature onto a political debate about practicalities of sustainability and cohesion, regardless of the consequences.

          The same party that wants to flood this country with an unlimited and endless amount of foreign economic migrants has no answers on how to sustain the infrastructure beyond punitive levels of taxation and muzzling any dissent. We have seen them bring the country to crisis point before and they’ll do it again, only this time the “solution” will be imposed by the EU and goodbye England as we ever knew it.

  • Augustus

    The EU parliament, which, of course, has always proved so unpopular, had no connection with any government. So a clause in the Lisbon Treaty was devised to provide it with a greater role, and which provided for the appointment of the President of the European Commission based on the results of the parliamentary elections. And that’s what has now happened. Parliament must still give its approval next month for Juncker as Commission President, but under the direction of President Martin Schulz that will simply be a formality. It’s become now obvious that the federalists’ aim in the long run is to turn the European Commission executive body into a new type of politburo, the makings of which are now under way.

    • DWWolds

      And who signed us up to the Lisbon Treaty?

      • logdon

        Backstairs Billy Brown, by any chance?

        • DWWolds

          Got it in one!

  • Denis_Cooper

    “It’s important for Downing Street to make clear that losing the Juncker battle
    is not the same as losing the overall fight for reform.”

    Of course it isn’t, because Cameron has said that he wants treaty change to transform the EU into something which would be more acceptable to the British people and TREATY CHANGE IS NOT IN THE GIFT OF THE PRESIDENT OF
    THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION, so the appointment of Junker shouldn’t make much difference.

    What would make the big difference is whether all of the 27 other EU member state governments would be prepared to agree to the kind of treaty changes Cameron has claimed to want, and of course the answer is that few of them would agree.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Thats not necessarily the case. The President of The EU Commission has always been the lynch pin and voice of the EU. Barroso was always the most prominent EU representative o the way forward for Brussels and so Junckers will be with Ever Closer Union which he is a passionate supporter of. He will have the power to influence and facilitate much of the backroom horsetrading that will go on and I suspect there will be little room for little ole Britain when it comes to such horse trading

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