Cameron cruising for Euro-bruising over Juncker election

You'd never think David Cameron was on the losing side here as a cruises to a euro-bruising over the election of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next EU president.

Oh. No. The prime minister is completely unapologetic, vowing this is just the first battle in a long campaign, fighting for a point of principle that Europe's top job should be decided by the elected leaders, not by the "back door" of the biggest bloc in the parliament.

And as he fights, he's doing a few side swipes at the leaders of other countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands, who are basically on his side in wanting another candidate but have said they will go for Juncker reluctantly when it comes to a vote.

The Prime Minister rather pointedly said yesterday that in Europe, what you say in private should be, " what you say in public". Ouch!

So today Mr Cameron will stand shoulder to shoulder with... Hungary with the other 26 leaders on the other side.

Now, Hungary is a fine country but when it comes to allies and clout this looks like that awful old school games ploy where the two strongest pupils pick their teams one by one. The clever kids with no braces and good ball skills are snapped up (France, Germany) and the scrawny ones yet to have their growth spurt wait with sinking hearts praying not to be the last one chosen. Hungary, in the pecking order is not the first choice to go into battle with. Nothing personal.

The dilemma today is that the PM's fight is winning some approval from the euro-skeptics at home, some admiration that even if he is going to lose, at least he will go down fighting.

Others worry that when (and it is when,not if) Mr Juncker is appointed, he is not going to rush to David Cameron's side in a hurry after such public opposition to his candidacy.

There is a bit of a croissant to go with the strong bitter coffee: Most leaders want Britain to be in the EU. Some agree with what the Prime minister is trying to do even if they don't want to go public. Many have some concerns about the former Luxembourg Prime minister that go beyond the strongly denied allegations he has " cognac for breakfast."

Because of this, they will want to moving swiftly on from the row and the embarrassing vote and try to concentrate on the future and the need to push for jobs and growth. On that, they can all agree.

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