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EU acts against UK for not nominating Commissioner

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EU acts against UK for not nominating Commissioner

UK-EU - Image © jonybigude - Fotolia

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission sent a letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom Thursday for breaching its EU Treaty obligations by not suggesting a candidate for the post of EU Commissioner.

The EU executive says it is under obligation to launch the infringement proceedings as 'Guardian of the EU Treaties', and is giving the UK authorities until Friday 22 November at the latest to provide their views.. It says the short time period is justified by the fact that the next Commission must enter into office as soon as possible.

The action follows the UK's reply on 13 November to two letters sent by Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen, which recall the UK's obligations under the EU Treaty – and the European Council decision of 29 October 2019 extending the Article 50 period.

This states that "This further extension cannot be allowed to undermine the regular functioning of the Union and its institutions. Furthermore, it will have the consequence that the United Kingdom will remain a Member State until the new withdrawal date, with full rights and obligations in accordance with Article 50 TEU, including the obligation to suggest a candidate for appointment as a member of the Commission."

The Commission says it has now analysed the UK's reply and considers that the UK is in breach of its EU Treaty obligations.

In their letter, the UK authorities consider that they are not in a position to suggest a candidate for the post of EU Commissioner in view of the upcoming general election.

The Commission however recalls that, in accordance with established EU case-law, an EU Member State may not invoke provisions prevailing in its domestic legal system to justify failure to observe obligations arising under Union law.

In accordance with Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the United Kingdom is now invited to submit its observations on the letter of formal notice at the latest by Friday 22 November.

Once it has examined these observations, or if no observations are submitted within this time-limit, the Commission may, if appropriate, issue a 'Reasoned Opinion'.

EUROPEAN COUNCIL DECISION taken in agreement with the United Kingdom extending the period under Article 50(3)TEU

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