British press speculates about EU exit after Juncker blow


Britain's newspapers warned Saturday (28 June) that the country had edged closer to leaving the EU after Prime Minister David Cameron's "crushing" failure to block Jean-Claude Juncker becoming president of the European Commission.

But they were divided on whether it was Cameron or Brussels who was most to blame for making it harder to convince Britons to vote to stay in the European Union in a 2017 referendum.

"One step closer to quitting Europe," the right-leaning Daily Telegraph, Britain's biggest selling broadsheet newspaper, said in its main front page headline, while Rupert Murdoch's The Times said: "Britain nears EU exit." 

The left-leaning Guardian ran with the almost identical "Britain closer to EU exit after Juncker vote", and the largely pro-EU Independent said: "Cameron Crushed - and UK edges closer to an EU exit."

The Sun tabloid took a more predictably patriotic line with the headline: "Cam: We're at war with EU."

Some British newspapers were heavily critical of Cameron's handling of the Juncker battle, which was widely viewed as making it harder for him to win the renegotiation of Britain's terms of membership that he has promised before the referendum.

"Loser Cameron branded the Rooney of Europe," the Eurosceptic Daily Mail said, referring to England footballer Wayne Rooney, whose team failed to progress past the first round of the World Cup in Brazil.

In an editorial, the Independent called it "a defeat – and a disaster."

"Splendid isolation is not the way to win arguments in the EU," it said. 

Cameron "could become the accidental hero of the eurosceptics, the man who leads the UK into an accidental exit from the EU," it added.

The Financial Times said it was "a historic shift of power in the EU" as well as being a "dangerous moment for Britain’s relations with Europe."

But The Times said that Britain was better off in "splendid isolation".

"The appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker is bad for the EU. David Cameron was right to oppose it to the bitter end," it said in its leader column.

It added that Cameron had "strengthened Britain's position with his robust opposition" and even his own chances in the UK's general election next year.

The Telegraph laid the blame squarely with the EU, saying it was up to Brussels to make the argument for Britain remaining in the bloc.

"If Europe wanted to drive Britain away, then the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker was the way to go about it," it said in a leading article.

"Mr Cameron must now make his argument. But given that this latest insult – a blow to British ambitions – has come from within the EU, it is also up to the EU to make its own case as to why we should stay."

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Joe Thorpe's picture

Cameron should have told them that on the basis of what had just happened he would actively campaign for an exit & all that that entails

ge041075's picture

I think it is clear enough that UK will indeed leave the EU. The EU council well understood that voting for Juncker would push UK further out. Actually UK is already the facto out of the EU. UK has no more influence on the EU agenda than Switzerland or Norway. The EU council had to choose between to clear options: intergovernmental with 28 MS or euro-federalist without UK. They decided to go for the latter. It is then a great victory the euro-federalists (the majority at EU level) and for the Eurosceptics in England (the majority at UK level). Politically it is great. The only thing I fear is that it will be difficult to bear for UK. First it has lost almost all its political weight at EU level, so what will be its international influence? Second, the EU will want to show that leaving the Union has cost to make sure other countries do not leave has well. If the EU let the UK leave you be sure that the economic consequences will be though in order to be deterrent. Sad indeed.

Mike Parr's picture

The Daily Vermingraph (Telegraph): owned by non-resident tax dodgers
The Scum (sun) owned by non-resident tax dodger
The Times owned by non-resident UK tax dodger
The Daily Hate (Mail) owned by non-resident Tax dodger
(anybody see a pattern?)
The poor judgement of Camoron and his failure to engage (with other Euros leaders) was covered by some newspapers but not by the above. However, I would go further and suggest that Camoron is fundamentally unfit to be Prime Minister due to consistently poor judgement coupled to arrogance which only an ex-Etonian, ex-Bullingdon can have. I cite as additional evidence an article in the Guardian (see link) with extract below - it concerns the recent hacking trial:

the relationships exposed, tabloid-style, at the top of all this make incest look positively vanilla.
Cameron rides Brooks's horse!
Brooks comforted by Blair!
Cameron's best friend marries Brooks!
Cameron's brother is head of the chambers that defends Brooks!
Brooks's lover Coulson hired by Cameron!

What the recent Juncker affair exposed is a man unfit to run a fish & chip shop let alone a nation. There is a reason why I refer to him as Moron-Con - because he is both a Moron and a con-merchant. What you see is never what you get. Finally, the tax-dodging owners of the newspapers mentioned above do not have the UK's best interests at heart - they never have, they never will.

Gerry's picture

What the UK leaders have been supremely successful in is establishing a near complete support of their population for their policy efforts. They are all shouting in unison, chanting the same warcries, repeating the same threats but its all for the UK, and nothing for Europe.
Despite all this, Europe must and will continue the way forward, with or without the UK on its side. Europe must move forward into an increasingly closer political and economic cooperative without losing the individual national differences. The politicians know this and support it.
Perhaps Cameron's fight can be better understood in terms of what he is promising; the re negotiations of the treaties to appease the fear and hysteria that have been inflicted on the British. This point is certain to fail as nobody wants to rip any treaties up for anybody's benefit. Just forget about that one. So Cameron might just as well pick the big fight now, and leave with the head up high while confusing and arousing the population enough to retain their support, rather then getting smacked down when he wants to really rip into the existing agreements and change things that nobody else wants to change.

an european's picture

Shame on the by the English press!
At least , the European press have more valuable and honest qualities !

El Pluribus Unum