Von der Leyen urges London to present a commissioner candidate before the end of the week

Ursula Von der Leyen

Ursula Von der Leyen – Sven Hoppe / dpa

The European Chamber validates the declaration of interests of the candidates from France, Hungary and Romania

BRUSSELS, 12 Nov. –

The future president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, sent a second letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, urging him to present “one or more” commissioner candidates “before the end of the week,” reminding him that While the United Kingdom is an EU country, it must comply with this obligation.

Von der Leyen urges London to present a commissioner candidate before the end of the week
Von der Leyen urges London to present a commissioner candidate before the end of the week

“Time is running out and that's why Von der Leyen awaits a response very soon, before the end of the week,” one of Von der Leyen's spokesmen, Dana Spinant, told a news conference.

The Twenty-seven agreed to a new extension for Brexit that postpones until the end of January the United Kingdom's departure from the community club, which implies that the country still has “the same rights and obligations” as the rest of the Member States, including proposing a representative for the College of Commissioners who, if the planned schedule is met, will start on December 1.

Johnson has already ignored a first letter from Von der Leyen reminding him of his obligations and asking for the name of a calendar, but the future president of the Commission is still “working in cooperation” with London to move forward on this matter.

“We are still waiting for the British Government to suggest a name,” said Spinant, who did not want to clarify whether Von der Leyen sees the new Commission taking possession without a British commissioner, nor did he want to go into details about the powers of the portfolio that the German would be willing to offer the representative of London.

The British Government informed Von der Leyen last July that he did not plan to present a candidate for commissioner since he was expecting Brexit to occur last October. However, the new extension granted by the EU changes the situation because the rules of the Treaty oblige the Member States to apply.

Meanwhile, the process to confirm in the European Parliament the validity of the alternative candidates presented by France, Hungary and Romania continues after the MEPs vetoed their first options.

The three aspiring commissioners have passed on Tuesday the evaluation that the Legal Affairs commission has made on their declarations of interest to rule out possible conflicts of interest, so they can be submitted to the examination of the competent parliamentary committees next Thursday.

The French candidate, former ATOS minister and president Thierry Breton, has been the one who has had the most trouble to overcome the legal analysis of his declaration of interests, an exam he has passed with 12 votes in favor and eleven against. Von der Leyen has reserved the same portfolio of the Internal Market that he assigned to the first gala candidate, Sylvie Goulard, rejected by the European Chamber for the investigation opened against her for a corruption issue.

The Hungarian ambassador to the EU, Oliver Varhelyi, candidate for the Expansion portfolio, and the Romanian conservative MEP Adina Valean, who will receive the Transport portfolio, have received the virtually unanimous approval of the Committee on Legal Affairs.

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