Britain has nominated its current ambassador to France, Julian King, to become the country’s new representative at the European Commission, replacing Jonathan Hill who resigned last month after Britons voted to leave the bloc.
While British Prime Minister David Cameron has been keen to replace Hill, EU sources have said the bloc’s lawmakers could block any appointment as long as Britain failed to bind itself into the tight, two-year EU exit process by refusing to give formal notice it is leaving.
“Sir Julian King is an experienced diplomat, he’s got particular expertise in European affairs and the prime minister thinks he will make a strong addition to the commission,” Cameron’s spokeswoman told reporters on Friday.
The spokeswoman said Britain currently remained a full paying member of the EU and its priority was to fill what it considered to be an important role.
King has previously served in Brussels, representing a political and security committee during the UK’s EU presidency in 2005 and later working under the British commissioner in 2008-09. He has also served as the UK ambassador to Ireland.
King is due to be interviewed by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday morning to assess his qualifications for the job, a spokeswoman for the EU executive said. She declined to give more details on what policy portfolio King might take on.
“The purpose of the interview will be to determine the candidates’ ability to serve as a European Commissioner particularly in light of … the treaty of the European Union,” she told journalists in Brussels.
The EU treaty states that commissioners should be chosen on the grounds of their “general competence and European commitment from persons whose independence is beyond a doubt”.