German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reaffirmed her support for Jean Claude Juncker becoming the next president of the European Commission.
Her comments came at a mini-summit of centre-right leaders in Sweden hosted by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and also attended by Dutch Premier Mark Rutte and British Prime Minister David Cameron. All three have been critical of her support for the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg.
“We’re not here to discuss what candidate we would choose but instead discuss the issues important to our citizens. But I have said that Jean-Claude Juncker is the candidate for the office of Commission President,” said Angela Merkel.
Britain regards Juncker as a European federalist and believes a candidate more open to reforming the EU and reducing power in Brussels should be chosen.
“The decision on whether to stay in Europe or leave Europe will be for the British people in a referendum to be held by the end of 2017. Obviously the approach that the European Union takes between then and now will be very important. If they can achieve reforms, if they can demonstrate openness, competitiveness, flexibility, less interference, reforms, that would be helpful. If the European Union doesn’t go in that direction that be unhelpful.”
Sweden, the Netherlands and Hungary share the UK’s opposition to Juncker.
At home, David Cameron also has the support of the opposition Labour Party.