Tensions between David Cameron and Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, continue as the battle of the budgets ploughs on.
At a press conference in Brussels Mr Juncker said the Prime Minister had “problems with the other Prime Ministers”. A spokesman for the President later confirmed to Breitbart London that the comment was made in reference “to the budget” but she “did not want to put words in anyone’s mouth”.
Mr Juncker and Mr Cameron have had an awkward relationship from the start: the Prime Minister publicly led a campaign to stop the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg from taking the top position in the Commission. He was left isolated when other leaders he liaised with about finding an alternative candidate resorted to backing the arch europhile.
The President has made his thoughts on the early days of his candidature and the tensions quite clear, saying yesterday that he was “not the type who trembles, in front of Prime Ministers or at any other time”.
“I don’t have a particular problem with Renzi [the Italian Prime Minister who is in negotiations with the Commission over his government’s budget], whom I like and have a great respect for. I don’t have a problem with Mr Cameron; Mr Cameron has a problem with the other Prime Ministers.”
The suggestion of Mr Juncker that the Prime Minister is isolated among other EU leaders will further strengthen the resolve of his party’s backbenchers who are pushing for Britain to withdraw from the European Union. They, and others pushing for reform, were furious at the £1.7bn bill, calculated by including illegal activities in the UK economy such as drugs and prostitution, which the Commission handed British tax payers, particularly as at the same time Germany and France were handed rebates.
Mr Cameron has refused to pay the bill by the 1st of December and has been told that the country will be changed interest as a result.
In the face of opposition from Mr Juncker, the news that Luxembourg was caught up in an international tax avoidance scheme may be music to the Conservative Party’s ears.
An investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and media in 32 countries across Europe and the rest of the world showed that governments missed out on billions in tax.
EU Observer reports that a total of 343 companies including Deustche Bank, IKEA and Apple had schemes in the Duchy to pay as little tax as possible via complex financial loopholes. These deals were approved by the Luxembourg tax office when Jean Claude Juncker was the Prime Minister.
548 leaked Luxembourg tax rulings between 2002-2010 will make unhappy reading for a man who is trying to bully the British into paying billions more into the EU’s coffers. The ‘comfort letters’ as these rulings are called, give reassurance to huge multinationals that its proposed tax scheme is approved by the Luxembourg authorities.
The European Commission has been trying to acquire such comfort letters from Luxembourg in their investigation of American online shop Amazon and Italian car manufacturer Fiat.
In October, the Commission announced that Luxembourg had provided Brussels with some of the requested information but “the Luxembourgian authorities have still not fully complied with the Commission’s information request”.
While the arrangements are legal it is certain to cause embarrassment for the new Commission President and is an opportunity for Mr Cameron to take the moral high ground in this ongoing spat.