British Prime Minister David Cameron has reportedly warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Britain could "leave the European Union" if Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker becomes the next European Commission president. (Via Flickr / Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Flickr / Michael Panse, Flickr / European People's Party)
It wouldn't be the E.U. without some scandal, now would it?
According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, Cameron warned Merkel during a meeting of E.U. leaders that he would not be able to guarantee that the U.K. would remain a part of the E.U. if Juncker became president of the commission.
The European Commission is the powerful executive body of the E.U. and is largely responsible for proposing new laws, implementing decisions, and managing the budget. Each of the 28 E.U. member countries has a representative, and one of them serves as president.
Former Luxembourg Prime Minister Juncker is in the running to become the 12th president of the commission and has the backing of many E.U. leaders, including Germany's Merkel. But, as someone who wants a stronger, more centralized E.U., he's a controversial figure. (Via European People's Party)
According to the Financial Times, Cameron's concern over Juncker lies in the fact that the British PM wants his country to remain outside the eurozone — that's the group of contry's using the euro — but he still wants access to the E.U. market.
On the other hand, Juncker once argued that if Britain wants to be involved in E.U. politics, it'll have to play a bigger part in E.U. policies. (Via Euronews)
So how might all of this lead to the U.K. up and leaving the E.U.? Well, part of the answer is a scheduled "in-out" referendum on whether or not the UK should stay in the E.U.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the referendum is still slated for 2017 if Cameron wins the next general election in 2015. But it's possible that with Juncker as president, the referendum will occur ahead of schedule, something that "would very likely lead to Britons saying no to staying in."
Juncker responded to Cameron's stance against him calling it "blackmail" according the The Telegraph. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has also come out supporting Cameron saying, "Juncker is 'one' name for the Commission, but he is not 'the' name."
While Juncker has the support of the European People's Party, which won the most seats in the E.U. election votes, the commission president is still selected by E.U. leaders. Along with Italy and the U.K., Sweden and Hungary have also expressed opposition to Juncker.