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UK Declines on Nominating a Commissioner

As the EU forges ahead with building its incoming Commission, attention is turned back to the UK and its obligation as a Member State to fill a Commissioner position. On Monday, 11 November, the UK said it would provide a name by the end of the day; on Tuesday, the UK said it would provide a name by the end of the week; on Wednesday, the UK’s permanent representation to the EU sent a letter to President von der Leyen stating that, due to campaign purdah rules, the UK will not be nominating a Commissioner until after the election. The UK has once again put the EU in a ‘very special, complex, exception situation’ (according to the incoming Deputy Chief Spokesperson for the European Commission), as the new Commission technically cannot start until a UK nominee is confirmed or the rules are changed. The Commission decided yesterday to send a letter of formal notice to the UK for breaching its EU Treaty obligations. This action launches infringement proceedings against the UK, which could eventually lead to the EU referring the UK to the Court of Justice and imposing financial penalties; however, as is the case with bureaucratic and legal procedures, this process takes months, by which point the UK may already withdraw from the EU. Therefore, this measure seems to be a way for the EU to cover its back as opposed to an act of diplomatic aggression.

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