Ian Duncan MEP - Juncker must not be barrier to reform in Europe
The appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission must not stall moves to deliver change in Europe, said Mr Duncan. This week (Tuesday) the European Parliament voted in a secret ballot to confirm the appointment of Mr Juncker to the EU’s top post. His nomination had been opposed by the UK Government and others across Europe, due to Mr Juncker's open desire for more Europe, not less.
As Scotland’s sole Conservative MEP, Mr Duncan commented:
"I am fundamentally opposed to the way in which Mr Juncker was nominated for this job, and nothing that has happened today has changed my view.This was a power grab by the European Parliament´s political groups, in an attempt to wrestle responsibility from the heads of national governments. I have always made it clear that I cannot and would not vote for a candidate nominated in this manner and it must not set a precedent for the future. I am also deeply concerned about the back-room deals that have been rumoured regarding other positions in the Commission.
"Mr Juncker has presented a long shopping list of different projects that he would like to fund. Top of that list must be reform and a new relationship in Europe. I am all for sensible investment in infrastructure but is using the EU budget the most cost effective way of doing this?
"I am firm in my belief that Member states are best placed to take these projects forward, spending money wisely, and tax-payers will be rightly concerned that Mr Juncker does not add to the cost of the EU. For too long money has been promised, only for it to disappear or go where it is not needed."
Signalling his intention to push Mr Juncker on the United Kingdom's relationship with the EU, Mr Duncan commented:
"Now that Mr Juncker has the job, we must press on with the reform of Europe, focusing on increasing competitiveness and cutting red tape. The recent election was a wake up call to politicians that the electorate will not put up with Europe as it is, and the appointment of Mr Juncker will have done nothing to allay these fears.
"We must move forward with renegotiating Britain’s relationship with Europe. Mr Junker has said one of his top priorities is to find solutions for the political concerns of the United Kingdom, and now he must deliver."
In the past two weeks, Mr Juncker has met with each of the seven groups of the European Parliament. The third largest group in the Parliament, the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), which includes UK Conservative MEPs, out of principle, did not nominate a candidate.
At his meeting with the ECR group, Mr Juncker presented his manifesto, saying: “As Commission President, I will work for a fair deal with Britain. A deal that accepts the specificities of the UK in the EU.”
Notes to Editors:
Mr Juncker addressed the European Conservative and Reformists Group on Tuesday 8thJuly. For the ECR statement please click here:
For more information about Mr Junker’s priorities as Commission President- please click here:
Ian Duncan is the Conservative MEP for Scotland.