Britain’s Ambassador to the EU, Tim Barrow wrote in a letter to the European Commission on Wednesday night that the UK will not nominate an EU Commissioner before its national elections scheduled for 12 December.
“We have written to the EU to confirm that pre-election guidance states the UK should not normally make nominations for international appointments during this period,” said a UK official on Thursday.
When Brexit was agreed to delay until 31 January 2020, heads of governments had set as a condition for granting the extension that the UK fulfills its current obligations as an EU member. However that was before MPs in the U.K. parliament voted in favor of the December ballot.
In letter sent to Johnson on 6 November, the President-elect heightened pressure on the UK government and requested two names for the position, most preferably female candidates, as soon as possible.
It was right after becoming UK Prime Minister when Johnson pledged that under no circumstances would the UK nominate a new commissioner and that he would “do or die” Brexit on 31 October. However, Downing Street hinted on Monday that the UK will meet its legal obligations on the issue under stake and that their officials remain in regular contact with with von der Leyen’s team.
Yet, to avoid further delay in the European Commission taking office, lawyers for the EU institutions have advised the President-elect that she will not be breaching the law if she takes office in 1 December, in case the UK or any other member state fail to come up with a nominee.