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Dutch PM says supports Juncker as EU Commision head

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(THE HAGUE) - Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Wednesday he supports former Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker for the EU commission presidency, leaving Britain increasingly isolated ahead of this week's EU summit.

"If an explicit vote is called for, we will support Juncker's candidacy," Rutte told parliament ahead of a European Union summit due to discuss who gets the top EU job.

"We will not block it," Rutte said.

Rutte had until now sat on the fence on Juncker's candidacy, saying he was one candidate among many.

Britain has strongly opposed Juncker to succeed Portugal's Jose Manuel Barroso and has demanded a vote by EU leaders on the issue at the Brussels summit on Thursday and Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who supports Juncker, has said it would be "no tragedy" if a vote electing Juncker was not unanimous.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has promised his voters a 2017 referendum on continued EU membership, considers Juncker too "federalist" and too much of a Brussels insider to push deep EU reforms.


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