President Jean-Claude Juncker
Many of the papers have analyses of the EU decision to elect Jean-Claude Juncker president of the European Commission
The Guardian calls Cameron’s failure to block the new president’s appointment ‘humiliating’ and points out that the action will ‘push Britain towards EU exit’.
Prime minister’s lonely bid to remake the EU to his liking has ended in disaster, and strengthened the hand of Eurosceptics.
British isolation at summits has become as predictable as the steady onward march of integration. On Friday, however, as David Cameron ended a lunch meeting with 27 other heads of state and government in Brussels, having staged his own lonely battle to block Jean-Claude Juncker’s candidacy for the top commission job, the story of the UK’s relations with Europe had moved on. The mood has, down the years, often been one of intense irritation with the Brits. This time, however, it was one of resignation mixed with deep concern that this could just be the beginning of the end.
Other media claim that the decision to give Juncker the presidency could be to the Prime Minister’s advantage.
Sky News claims the outcome is ‘a gift to UKIP’.
David Cameron appears to have gained a promise from other EU members to respect those nations who do not want deeper integration.
Having lost this time – can he really promise to win support for his European reforms in the years to come before the 2017 referendum?
It’s a gift to UKIP. Nigel Farage believes the British public will see this as a taste of things to come.
He told Sky News: “They saw a prime minister saying he was going to fight in Brussels and some of them would have had memories of Mrs Thatcher and handbags and thought gosh! He’s going to come home with some goodies!
“He has come home like the England Football Team – utterly humiliated.
And the Telegraph claims that the move strengthens German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hold over the politics of Europe.
Without a German lead against Jean-Claude Juncker, most other member states backed his appointment
Angela Merkel did not want Juncker, and originally said as much to David Cameron. But she gradually realised that to head off the Socialists in Germany, placate her own Christian Democrats, who love their power in the European Parliament, and defer to the Axel Springer media group, which had enlisted Mr Juncker in its war against Google, she must back the bibulous Luxemburger after all.
These considerations proved more important to Mrs Merkel than her wish to do business with Mr Cameron. Without a German lead against Mr Juncker, the other member states found it convenient to acquiesce in the weird idea that he was the democratic choice, even though he had stood in no election and the party backing him had just done particularly badly in the Euro-elections.
Thus does Europe fail to rise to the new challenges of the age. And thus, in her quiet way, does Mrs Merkel rule Europe.
European leaders are ‘cowards’
Sky News reports on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s comments that those European leaders who voted for Juncker are ‘cowards’.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has labelled Europe’s leaders ‘cowards’ for electing arch-federalist Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s only ally was Hungary as he attempted to block Mr Juncker, who he claims is not the right man to force through EU reform.
And the Sunday Telegraph also reports Hunt’s comments.
As does the Sunday Times.
Poll against the EU
The Mail on Sunday reports a poll that voters agree Cameron was right to block president and that now more people want to leave the EU than stay in.
British voters agree with David Cameron that his failure to stop Jean-Claude Juncker becoming President of the EU Commission makes it much more likely the UK will finally cut its ties with Brussels.
The majority Britons agree with the Prime Minister that Mr Juncker, who favours a United States of Europe, is the wrong man for the job, and they are worried about claims of his heavy drinking.
But they believe Mr Juncker’s victory has probably killed off Mr Cameron’s hopes of persuading people to vote to stay in the EU by grabbing back powers from Brussels before a referendum.
Those are the key findings of the first opinion poll since EU leaders voted on Friday by 26 to 2, with only Hungary supporting Britain, to put Mr Juncker in charge of the powerful commission.
According to the Survation poll for The Mail on Sunday, a total of 47 per cent want to leave the EU, with 39 in favour of staying in.
New benefit rules
Away from the row over Junker, the Sunday Express reminds us that from Tuesday EU migrants face tough new benefit rules.
“Jobless EU migrants who have been claiming benefits for the past six months and show no signs of being able to find work could be forced to leave the UK from Tuesday.
It is one of a set of measures designed to give Britain the toughest controls on migrants in the world.
Under the new rules, EU nationals must wait three months before claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and are entitled to it for a maximum of six months.
Anyone earning £150 a week, equivalent to working 24 hours on the minimum wage, will be classed as a worker.”
Policy chief criticises Labour leader
The Sunday Times reports a comment by David Miliband’s top advisor Jon Criddas that the Labour leader’s policies are chosen simply because they are popular.
Ed Miliband’s policy chief has launched a coded attack on the Labour leader for creating “cynical” policies designed only to “chime with focus groups”.
Jon Cruddas accused Miliband’s inner circle of wielding a “profound dead hand at the centre” to stop the party adopting bold policies.
He attacked Labour’s plans to cut jobseeker’s allowance from those aged 18 to 21 unless they undergo training as “punitive” and suggested welfare cuts had been adopted only to placate the media and floating voters.
NHS in trouble
Several of the newspapers warn that the NHS is heading for disaster.
The Guardian claims the services is in danger of collapse within five years.
Senior Tories have called on David Cameron to increase NHS spending significantly as a former coalition health minister forecasts a collapse in the service.
A slew of bad news over the NHS has raised Tory fears that the health service could again prove to be a toxic issue just 10 months before a general election.
The NHS says 299,031 patients arrived at A&E departments last week – the highest number on record. A&E waiting time targets were missed for the 49th consecutive week and a record number of beds were filled last month by patients who could not be discharged, often because community or social care services were not in place.
Stephen Dorrell, a former Conservative health secretary, Sarah Wollaston, a Tory MP, and Paul Burstow, a former coalition health minister, say that with the economy growing the NHS must receive a real terms increase in spending over the next five years if it is to function properly.
And the paper goes on to say the service is about to become a ‘key political issue,’ following the downgrading of Trafford General Hospital in Manchester.
Amid accusations that the government is bleeding the NHS dry, is Britain’s health service about to become a key political issue?
Sixty-six years after Aneurin Bevan launched the NHS at Manchester’s Trafford General, the future of this small, now rather bleak, hospital, with its peeling paint and malfunctioning automatic doors, once again became a political issue of national importance in February.
The decision to downgrade Trafford’s A&E department became the focal point of a parliamentary byelection in the neighbouring constituency of Wythenshawe and Sale, where the local hospital had suffered a huge, debilitating influx of the stricken and walking wounded who would, in times past, have turned up in Trafford.
Overseas visitors to pay for health services
The Sunday Express reports on a suggestion that there will be a clampdown on welfare tourism.
UP to £500million a year spent by the NHS on treating migrants is to be clawed back in a new crackdown on welfare tourism.
Jeremy Hunt said that we should be collecting money from international visitors who use the NHS.
The Government yesterday unveiled an initial scheme designed to reward health trusts that reclaim payments for caring for EU patients.