German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected as unacceptable, arguments that the UK should leave the European Union if London refuses to sit back in a dispute over the European Commission’s (EC) next president.
Merkel told the German parliament on Wednesday that she was aware of London’s objection to her favored candidate for EC presidency, Jean-Claude Juncker, but hoped that the UK would remain in the bloc.
This comes as German media reports have accused London of blackmailing the EU for years and that the UK should decide once and for all whether to remain a member of the bloc.
British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened earlier this week that his country would exit the EU if Juncker, the former Luxembourg premier, becomes the next EC president, as the appointment would politicize the Commission.
Besides the UK, other European leaders, namely Swedish Premier Fredrik Reinfeldt and Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban, have also voiced their opposition to Juncker’s candidacy.
The developments come as EU leaders are at loggerheads over choosing a replacement for European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, whose term ends in October.
Juncker, a federalist, was chosen as the EC president candidate after the European People’s Party (EPP), to which both Juncker’s and Merkel’s parties belong, won 213 out of 751 seats in the recent European Parliament elections. Juncker’s main rival is Martin Schulz, whose Social Democrats finished second in the elections.
EU leaders traditionally choose the commission’s head on their own, but under current rules they have to take into account the results of the European Parliament elections.
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