Juncker ‘committed to finding solution to UK concerns’

David Cameron called Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday to congratulate him on securing the nomination to be the next president of the European Commission, Downing Street said.

The former Luxembourg premier told the Prime Minister he was “fully committed” to finding a solution to British concerns about the European Union and they discussed “how they would work together” to boost competitiveness, according to No 10.

It comes after a weekend of recriminations following Mr Cameron’s defeat in his bid to stop the arch-federalist from taking the EU’s top job.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Labour said the failed negotiations over the appointment 
had been a “catastrophe” for Britain.

Business leaders have also warned that the country’s economic success depends on it remaining a full member of the European Union.

But William Hague refused to be drawn on whether pulling out of the EU would be a disaster, insisting the decision was “up to the British people”.

The Foreign Secretary said it was “far too early to say” if the Government would fail in its bid to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Brussels. “The Prime Minister acknowledged that the task had got harder when he spoke after this on Friday,” he told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show.

“But look at the track record of the last few years. He is the first Prime Minister to negotiate an actual reduction in the European budget.”

Asked if it would be a disaster to exit, he replied: “This will be the debate in the referendum.

“I have always argued against more power going to the European Union but for us to be a member of Europe but not run by Europe.

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said he had “never seen a negotiation so cack-handed”.

“We won’t be influential in the world, unless we are influential in Europe,” Mr Balls told Andrew Marr.

CBI director general John Cridland told The Observer: “The EU is our biggest export market and remains fundamental to our economic future. Our membership supports jobs, drives growth and boosts our international competitiveness.”