Von der Leyen asks Boris Johnson for British Commissioner-designate

Meeting of the EP Conference of Presidents in presence of Ursula von der LEYEN - President-elect of the European Commission

The new President of the European Commission has sent a letter asking British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to nominate a new British candidate for the EU Commission as soon as possible. Chairman Ursula von der Leyen suggests that Johnson can nominate a female candidate.

Now that the British have requested a three-month postponement of their intended departure from EU, Great Britain will in any case still be a member of EU on December 1 and January 1. In that case, the EU "constitution" prescribes that the British must also have British politicians in the European Parliament, and a British Commissioner in the daily EU administration.

Von der Leyen has already made the request to nominate a British candidate to the former Prime Minister, Theresa May. At that time it looked as though the United Kingdom might be out of EU before 1 November.

After the European elections in May, it was already decided that the British MEPs in Strasbourg would retain their seat temporarily, pending a decision on Brexit. But no decision has yet been taken on EU Commissioner Julian King.

The new European Commission Von der Leyen is expected to take office on December 1. That is a month later than originally intended. But then the European Parliament must have held hearings at the end of this month with three remaining Commissioners, the French, the Hungarian and the Romanian. It is not to be expected that by that time there will be clarity about a new British Commissioner.

Premier Johnson made it clear earlier that he does not intend to nominate a new British Commissioner. Instead, Johnson said he wants to start taking British officials back from Brussels. It is not yet clear how the EU will have to react if London refuses to nominate a successor for Julian King.

In theory, EU committee chairman Von der Leyen can leave the current British commissioner for a few months, because the British may still be leaving the EU via their Brexit in February. But that will also depend on the result of the parliamentary elections that are being held in Great Britain in mid-December. If those elections are not gloriously won by the Conservatives, it cannot be ruled out that the British Brexit departure must be postponed again.