EU Commission set a deadline of Friday midnight for the British government to respond.
The U.K. government is refusing to respond to an EU disciplinary procedure over London’s refusal to nominate an EU commissioner.
The European Commission had set a deadline of Friday midnight for the British government to respond to the so-called infringement procedure, in which the U.K. is accused of violating EU law by refusing to put forward a nominee.
It came after the UK’s ambassador to Brussels, Sir Tim Barrow, told incoming EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen that Mr Johnson would not be appointing one because of the General Election.
He cited a British convention that ‘the UK should not normally make nominations for international appointments’ during an election campaign.
But Brussels hit back, saying Britain was ‘in breach of its EU treaty obligations’ by not nominating a commissioner because it is still a member state.
Each EU country is supposed to nominate a member to sit on the EU Commission’s ruling college.
Mrs von der Leyen wants the new commission to begin on December 1, two weeks before Britain goes to the polls.
In theory, if the UK continues to refuse to appoint a commissioner, it could be hauled before the European Court of Justice and be fined.
The new commission was initially scheduled to take office on November 1, the day after Britain was scheduled to leave the bloc.
But European lawmakers rejected three commission candidates from other countries, delaying the process. New Commissioners have now been approved including the Boss of the controversial PIP assessment company Atos Thierry Breton.
If we have to appoint a commissioner let the winning party be the one’s to do it.
Few expect the UK to act now, given its own ‘purdah’ rules which say a government should not make international appointments – including for the EU – during an election campaign and before a new government is in place following an election.
It would seem unfair for the UK to present an EU commissioner at this stage for a number of reasons not least the Tory government have the power to appoint a commissioner right now, however this would be very unfair to the Labour Party who have every chance of being the Party in power within the next three weeks.
Any appointment made by the Tory party would not suit the political agenda of the Labour party resulting in a quick change.
Under EU treaties all 28 member states must have one commissioner, who collectively form the EU executive. The new commission wants to take office on 1 December this year, though it is likely to be delayed because of hold-ups in the approval procedure.
Because the UK has not left, under EU treaties it is required to have a commissioner. If Brexit happens according to the current plan the commissioner would serve just two months.