Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Cameron suffers defeat in Brussels as leaders chose Juncker for top EU job

By Ivana Kottasova, design by Inez Torre, CNN
updated 11:27 AM EDT, Fri June 27, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Europe's leaders nominate Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission
  • Last month, the European election revealed cracks in the continent-wide bloc
  • Angela Merkel and David Cameron clashed over Merkel's support for Juncker
  • Cameron forced a vote on issue, but only Hungarian PM Viktor Orban backed him

Editor's note: This interactive feature may not display properly on some mobile devices.

(CNN) -- Jean-Claude Juncker is a step closer to becoming the next president of the European Commission after EU leaders approved his nomination, despite strong opposition from Britain.

Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, announced in a tweet: "Decision made. The European Council proposes Jean-Claude Juncker as the next President of the European Commission."

Only British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban voted against Juncker.

The former Luxembourg prime minister will represent the 28-strong union globally and become the answer to the question posed by American presidents for decades: "Who do I call if I want to call Europe?"

Juncker a clunker for EU?
Cameron's Euro woes
How do the EU Parliamentary elections work?

Negotiations over the post have been tricky.

One of the most powerful European leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, endorsed the former Luxembourg prime minister, who is a member of Europe's strongest political party, the center-right EPP.

Merkel and Juncker share views on closer cooperation and stricter fiscal discipline within the EU.

Merkel's endorsement was enough to defeat Cameron, who headed up a group campaigning against Juncker's appointment in the lead-up to the summit in Brussels, arguing that Juncker was too federalist for the job.

But as the decision neared, Cameron's allies in Sweden and Denmark toned down their opposition and agreed to back Juncker for the job.

When the leaders voted on the issue, Cameron found himself isolated, joined only by Hungary's PM Orban.

Cameron, facing pressures from euroskeptics at home, has criticized the EU as being "too big and too bossy."

A European president in favor of even closer cooperation -- as Juncker advocates -- runs against Cameron's plans to reform the UK's position within the Union and bring some power back to London.

The EU election in May saw a surge in the support of euroskeptic parties across Europe, which also complicated Juncker's path to the top job

But Juncker's detractors have failed to come up with a viable alternative.

Names floated included Christine Lagarde, the IMF chief, who rejected the idea; and Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, famed for her selfie with U.S. President Barack Obama at Nelson Mandela's memorial service last December.

But no-one emerged as a strong enough candidate to challenge Juncker and his high-powered backers.

The newly elected European Parliament will hold a formal vote on Juncker when it meets next week.

This interactive feature may not display properly on some mobile devices.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Thu October 9, 2014
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea -- the three countries facing the biggest health crisis -- are also facing huge bills to try and contain the virus.
updated 9:16 AM EDT, Mon September 22, 2014
Twitter has lost its position in the top 20 coolest brands for the first time in three years.
updated 11:54 AM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
As the crisis in Iraq escalates, CNN looks at how Iraq could crack down on ISIS' oil riches under the guidance of its new oil minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi.
updated 4:42 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is Turkey's new president . So can he revitalize its economic fortunes?
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Experts share their tips on cities they see as emerging financial hubs...they're not where you think.
updated 11:11 AM EDT, Thu October 9, 2014
Growing numbers of us are willing to serve as bank, teacher or travel agent to people we have never met, and entrust them to serve us in turn.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
The European Union is stepping in to save its dairy from going sour.
updated 8:36 AM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
Europe's deteriorating relationship with Russia has hit the region's growth, even before new food sanctions begin to bite.
updated 12:34 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
With cyberattacks on the rise and here to stay, it's a modern-day challenge for people and businesses to get smarter about preventing them.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Airstrikes, rebels seizing control of oil fields, plus a severe refugee crisis are a recipe for market panic. So why are Iraq oil prices stable?
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Fri September 19, 2014
Peer-to-peer finance lets businesses bypass bank loans. Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
updated 11:24 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Evidence points to pro-Russian separatists as perpetrators of the attack and Vladimir Putin is facing questions, David Clark writes.
updated 5:52 AM EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
CNN's Jim Boulden looks on the future of online shopping.
updated 10:40 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
The biggest Ebola outbreak in history is taking its toll in Western Africa, hitting some of West Africa's most vulnerable economies.
ADVERTISEMENT