Gavin Hewitt, Europe editor

Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

This is where you will find my view of the big arguments over Europe, its politics and its personalities

European Parliament: The power battles begin again

Soldiers of the Eurocorps hold the European flag during a ceremony in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, 30 June 2014
Despite the rise of the Eurosceptics, the European Parliament remains dominated by pro-EU parties

In Strasbourg on Tuesday the new and increasingly powerful European Parliament is meeting.

It will bristle with energy. There will be a parade of anti-establishment figures, many of whom want to shake the EU temple. Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage, Beppe Grillo and others will stalk the corridors and attract the cameras like moths to a flame.

But power remains where it was. Seventy per cent of MEPs support the pro-European parties of the centre-right, the Socialists, the Liberals and the Greens. Eurosceptics are on the march, but they had 15% or more of the vote in only six countries.

The first order of business is the filling of another of the EU's big posts, the president of the parliament. Almost certainly it will go once again to the Socialist Martin Schulz.

Why? The largest grouping, the centre-right, landed Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the Commission.

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Olive branches fail to disguise deep Juncker division

David Cameron, 27 June
Down on support. Leaders showed some sympathy but would not back David Cameron

David Cameron tried to make a virtue out of his failure to block the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker for European Commission president.

Even before Mr Cameron had made his impassioned pitch to Europe's leaders, his aides were portraying this as a battle in a much longer campaign for EU reform.

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Cameron's allies against Juncker fall away

David Cameron & Jean-Claude Juncker
David Cameron opposes Mr Juncker's instincts for closer ties with Europe

A senior British diplomat has said David Cameron will "not row back", that he will fight on to prevent Jean-Claude Juncker becoming head of the European Commission.

But even as British officials were saying the prime minister would insist on a vote at the summit on Friday, some of David Cameron's potential allies were falling away. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: "If an explicit vote is called for, we will support Juncker's candidacy... we will not block it."

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Is Merkel damaged by the EU's Juncker row?

File photo: Angela Merkel, 24 June 2014
Angela Merkel's judgement has been questioned by the German press

In the battle over who should become the next president of the European Commission, David Cameron is depicted as the loser - "isolated", "incompetent", a serial mis-reader of Brussels politics.

Yet David Cameron is not alone in finding himself in a corner, defending a position he cannot retreat from.

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The EU's curious choice of Juncker for president

File photo: Jean-Claude Juncker, 25 May 2014
Mr Juncker says he is open to listening to British concerns

It will be a curious nomination. Almost certainly this week the EU's heads of government will nominate the centre-right politician Jean-Claude Juncker to be the most powerful official in the EU.

Why curious? Because very few officials or heads of government believe he is the best man to lead the EU at a moment of growing disenchantment with the European project.

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Cameron's European battle over Juncker

Jean-Claude Juncker (file pic)
European heads of government already have a qualified majority backing Jean-Claude Juncker

In Brussels they are looking for signs of a British white flag, such is the certainty that David Cameron has lost his battle to stop Jean-Claude Juncker becoming the next president of the European Commission.

Words and phrases are studied and scrutinised for the first sign of retreat. So when today a senior British government official opined that they were "not throwing in the towel", that was judged an admission of backs to the wall.

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Europe's giant tussle over Jean-Claude Juncker

Viewed from North America, where I have been for the past two weeks, events in Europe since the May European Parliament elections have been hard to explain to a distant audience.

On the surface, a gigantic tussle surrounds a politician few voters have heard of. The campaign of Jean-Claude Juncker, a former Luxembourg prime minister, to become the EU's chief executive is riddled with complexity but it is exposing many of the fundamental fault lines that lie at the heart of the European project. It will dominate a European summit next week and perhaps for weeks after.

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EU elections: The European malaise

French President Francois Hollande
After a shock result President Hollande is not arguing now for "more Europe"

Europe's leaders gathered in Brussels knowing that there had been a huge protest vote against the European establishment.

The number of MEPs from Eurosceptic parties had doubled.

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About Gavin

Gavin was special correspondent for BBC News before becoming Europe editor in 2009.

He covered the Obama campaign in 2008 and was embedded with US forces for the invasion of Iraq.

He has written two books including A Soul On Ice.

He has won an RTS, a BAFTA and a Broadcast award.

He has covered conflicts in Georgia, Lebanon and Zimbabwe and reported from New York after 9/11. He was in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and was in Berlin the night the wall fell.

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