High-fives as leaders swallow breakfast frostiness

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Jean-Claude Juncker might have been forgiven for raising his hands at David Cameron at their first meeting since the Prime Minister’s outspoken opposition to his appointment.

But the European Commission’s new president opted for a rather clumsy high-five as the pair held talks in Brussels yesterday.

Mr Juncker and Mr Cameron shared breakfast just weeks after the Prime Minister’s very public bid to stop the appointment of a man he saw as a roadblock to reform in the European Union.

Mr Cameron has since made clear he is ready to work with the new Commission president, though Downing Street stressed it was Mr Juncker who initiated the US-style hand-slap.

“I think that’s how Mr Juncker greets quite a few people,” said the Prime Minister’s official spokesman. “They have known each other for quite a while.”

Journalists were not allowed to witness the event, but a photo of the celebratory gesture was distributed by the European Commission shortly after their hour-long meeting, which Downing Street characterised as “substantive, constructive and amicable”.

Mr Cameron used the meeting to lobby for Lord Hill of Oareford, his nominee for Britain’s place on the Commission, to be handed a key economic portfolio in Mr Juncker’s team.

Downing Street said that Mr Cameron and Mr Juncker spent 40 minutes discussing the challenges facing the EU over the next five years, before being joined by Lord Hill.

“The Prime Minister set out his vision for reform of the EU and the UK’s relationship with it,” said Mr Cameron’s spokesman.