On 2 August, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker decided to task the new UK Commissioner Lord King with the Security Union. Former British Commissioner Lord Hill was responsible for Capital Markets Union, but resigned following the Brexit referendum. Capital markets came under the responsibility of “his” Vice-President Dombrovskis. Since the UK is a full member of the EU until the moment of its withdrawal, it has a right to nominate a commissioner. Lord King was nominated by the outgoing Prime Minister Cameron in July. The portfolio for Lord King became a contentious issue. Politically, the position of the UK inside the Union doubtlessly changed after the referendum. Moreover, no commissioner wanted to relinquish part of his/her portfolio to a new member of the college. The socialists in the EP made it very clear, that no candidate would be approved if his new portfolio weakens a socialist nominee in the EC. The Security Union portfolio is a good compromise – it is mainly a coordinative post, it will not have any specific DG under its command, it is a highly important and actual topic, in which the UK has a very good track record. Not least will it ease the burden of Commissioner Avramopoulos, nominally responsible for counter-terrorism, but overburdened by the migration crisis. Lord King will work in a “project team” led by First Vice-President Timmermans.
A new commissioner is nominated by the government of a member state. He is approved by the Council acting unanimously, with the consent of the Commission President, after consulting the European Parliament. The EP officially has no power in the process, but informally its opinion is taken rather seriously.
20th February 2019
25th January 2019