Millennium Post

UK tells EU will not name commissioner before polls

Brussels: The UK government has written to EU chief Ursula von der Leyen to say it will not nominate a British member to her top team before its December 12 election.

"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," a UK official said Thursday.

A spokesman for von der Leyen's European Commission transition team told AFP she had received the letter from British authorities overnight.

Separately, EU sources told AFP von der Leyen has had legal advice that the lack of a British commissioner will not prevent her team from taking office.

President-elect von der Leyen's commission, made up of herself -- a German -- and senior officials from 26 other member states hopes to take office on December 1.

But the 28th EU member state, Britain, plans to leave the bloc on January 31 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is fighting an election campaign on a pro-Brexit ticket.

There had been concern in Brussels that Britain's boycott would hold up the inauguration of the new European Union executive team.

Von der Leyen's target date for taking office, November 1, has already come and gone, after MEPs rejected her French, Hungarian and Romanian nominees.

But three more names have been put forward to replace them and the nominees are going through parliamentary confirmation hearings.

Von der Leyen now hopes to start on December 1.

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