DAVID CAMERON has conceded that he faces a tougher fight to persuade Britons to vote to remain in the EU after he was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid to block an arch-federalist and long-time Brussels insider from becoming the next president of the European Commission.
The Prime Minister was left isolated in Europe as his fellow-leaders rejected his pleas and voted 26-2 to nominate former Luxembourg PM Jean-Claude Juncker for the EU’s top job, in a departure from the decades-old tradition that Commission chiefs are chosen by consensus among all member states.
Only Hungarian PM Viktor Orban joined Mr Cameron in voting against Mr Juncker.
Mr Cameron said his fellow leaders had made “a serious mistake”, but insisted that he did “the right thing” in taking an outspoken stand against the appointment – which must now be confirmed by the European Parliament in a vote on July 16.
Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: “Now that the Council has nominated Jean-Claude Juncker as Commission president, British eyes should fix their attention on shaping his policy priorities and building bridges to ensure a key economic portfolio is secured.
“While it is admirable – and refreshing – that a British Prime Minister should stand up for principle and the UK’s interests in Europe, reality and pragmatism must now dictate the Government’s approach to reform.”
John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The Prime Minister fought to secure the best possible outcome for Britain, and he was right to do so, but being right doesn’t always mean you win.
“The campaign for fundamental reform of the European Union is backed by British business, and it must not end here.
“The Prime Minister’s top priority must now be to secure safeguards for Britain in the face of renewed Eurozone integration.”
Cameron defied: Page 19.