28 June 2014
Last updated at 12:20
David Cameron says he will not back down from his battle for EU reform
David Cameron has been criticised by Labour leader Ed Miliband after his defeat in a row over the appointment of a new European Commission president.
While Sweden and Germany offered the prime minister encouragement, Mr Miliband said Mr Cameron was taking the UK “closer to the exit door” of the EU, which posed a threat to the economy.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Europe saw the UK as a “damned nuisance”.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the PM had been “brave” to take on Europe.
Britain forced a vote in an attempt to block the selection of Jean-Claude Juncker, seen as a backer of closer political union.
But EU states voted 26-2 to appoint him president of the Commission in what Mr Cameron described as “a bad day for Europe”.
Mr Miliband said the prime minister now posed “a clear and present danger” to the UK’s future.
“David Cameron, by his own admission, is taking us closer to the exit door of the European Union, which would threaten three million jobs across the United Kingdom,” he said.
Mr Miliband said European leaders questioned the prime minister’s true intentions, which had prevented them from allying with him and was “bad for Britain”.
He said Mr Cameron’s strategy had “totally failed” and that he had been “comprehensively and humiliatingly” outvoted.
He said Mr Cameron had become “toxic” and was not the man for the job of reforming Europe.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said there was a mood within the EU that it would rather get rid of the “friendless” UK than allow it to start “picking apart treaties”.
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Among the leaders there is anxiety that this defeat will hasten the exit of Britain from the EU”
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that leaders viewed Britain as “a damned nuisance” that was “always complaining”.
Mr Farage added that while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would address British concerns, ultimately, when she “puts her foot down” everybody fell into line.
“She said countries can move at different paces, while some can get there more quickly than others, but she wasn’t for a moment suggesting that Britain can opt out of the principle of an ever closer union.”
Despite being one of the UK’s closest allies in Europe, Sweden backed the appointment of Mr Juncker. But the country’s prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, said after the vote that he knew closer union was not “for everyone”.
Mr Reinfeldt pointed to a document issued by EU leaders after the vote which accepted that the idea of an ever-closer union should not apply to all member states.
“Just look into what we have written in our conclusions,” he said.
“You will find references with text, which I think is very important for David Cameron, saying this ever-closer union perception is maybe not the best for everyone.”
He highlighted that this had “never been stated” by the EU before.
Germany also supported Mr Juncker’s appointment, but Mrs Merkel said she was “ready to address British concerns”.
She said there would be a review of how the president was nominated and said she shared Britain’s ideas about what the EU should be like.
Germany’s Angela Merkel and Sweden’s Fredrik Reinfeldt have offered some support to David Cameron
Mr Juncker was the preferred candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP), the largest group in the European Parliament, and his appointment must now be endorsed by the parliament.
The appointment of the European Commission president has previously been by consensus but Mr Cameron opposed the choice and his demand for a vote was granted.
Mr Cameron tried to convince other countries to oppose Mr Juncker, a former leader of Luxembourg, but in the end only the UK and Hungary did so.
He warned the appointment would hand more power to the European Parliament and take it away from the heads of government.
The BBC’s Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt, said the prime minister needed a shift in power back to national parliaments in order to sell the idea of a reformed Europe to the British public.