Ulster MEPs oppose Juncker as he is voted EU president

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Northern Ireland’s three MEPs have said that they voted against Jean-Claude Juncker as the European Parliament yesterday rubber-stamped his appointment as EU president.

MEPs yesterday voted by 422 votes to 250 to appoint the former Luxembourg prime minister in a secret ballot.

It was the first time that the European Parliament elected, rather than approved, the President of the European Commission.

DUP MEP Diane Dodds said that his election had been “a bizarre affair”.

“In this election there was only one candidate and the outcome had already been agreed by three of the largest groups in the parliament prior to the vote.

“Nevertheless, on behalf of people in Northern Ireland and in common with the overwhelming majority of UK MEPs, I voted against his presidency. I believe that he represents the same tired, federalist European policies.”

UUP MEP Jim Nicholson said: “I did not support Mr Juncker today because I do not believe that he is the right person for the job. Given the problems which clearly need addressed within the EU, what is needed now is not more EU but better EU. Indeed the message from the recent European elections was that voters are demanding reform yet Mr Juncker’s appointment represents more of the same.”

Sinn Fein said that its MEPs had also voted against Mr Juncker.

Dublin MEP Lynn Boylan said: “It is our belief in Sinn Fein that his candidacy represents a ‘business as usual’ approach to the future of the EU.”