Luxembourg’s former premier Jean-Claude Juncker has told European politicians he will not “get on my knees” before Britain in his bid to become European Commission chief, the Guardian reported Friday.
Britain fiercely opposes Juncker’s possible appointment as president of the European Union’s executive branch, claiming that voters across the continent rejected his brand of federalism during last month’s elections.
But the European Parliament insists that Juncker has a democratic right to the job, given that he heads the European People’s party (EPP), the grouping which secured most votes in the elections.
According to the Guardian, Juncker told EPP colleagues during a closed meeting in Brussels on Thursday that he would not bend to the demands of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who wants the post to be decided by national leaders in the European Council.
“It is wrong if we give in to the British here,” the Guardian reported Juncker as saying. “I will not be forced to get on my knees before the British.”
The former Eurogroup chief also claimed British press had “occupied my house” and “harassed” his neighbours in an effort to destroy his credibility.
Juncker also suggested he was ready to talk to the socialist grouping and others like the Greens and the liberals in order to build a “grand coalition”.