LONDON — The U.K. will abide by the law when it comes to appointing a new EU commissioner, the prime minister’s spokesman said Monday.
“The U.K. will meet its legal obligation, and our officials remain in regular contact with the president-elect’s team,” the spokesman told a regular briefing of journalists in Westminster.
Incoming European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has repeatedly insisted that the U.K. is legally obliged to nominate a new commissioner since Brexit was delayed until January 31.
“We expect the U.K. authorities to come forward with the name of a candidate as soon as possible. We are expecting an answer today,” Eric Mamer, who will take over as chief spokesperson for von der Leyen, told journalists in Brussels on Monday.
Von der Leyen wrote to Boris Johnson last week asking him to nominate a member of the Commission — and preferably a woman.
She told a press conference on Friday that “every member state has the right and the duty to make a proposal for a Commissioner.”
Before Brexit was delayed, Johnson had refused to appoint one. “We will not nominate a U.K. commissioner for the new commission taking office on the first of December, under no circumstances,” he said in his first statement to parliament as prime minister on July 25.
An obligation to nominate a commissioner is mentioned in the text of the European Council’s decision to extend the Brexit deadline to January 31. The text states that the U.K. remains an EU member until the new exit date, “with full rights and obligations … including the obligation to suggest a candidate for appointment as a member of the Commission.”
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