Britain WILL have to send its own bureaucrat to Brussels if it delays Brexit again says the new European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in new blow for Boris Johnson
- New EC president said existing rules tied the UK into appointing someone
- Current commissioner Julian King was expected to be the last UK appointment
- One MEP joked that the job should be given to Commons Speaker John Bercow
Britain would have to appoint a new European Commissioner if it delays Brexit past October 31, Brussels’ new top bureaucrat has warned.
In a fresh headache for Boris Johnson, incoming commission president Ursula on der Leyen said existing rules tied the UK into appointing someone to work at the heart of the bloc.
It would be another blow to the Prime Minister’s plan for a swift and decisive break with Brussels.
The UK’s current commissioner is former ambassador to France Julian Hill, who was expected to be the last Briton to hold the post.
But addressing reporters in Brussels, former German defence minister Ms von der Leyen said: ‘If the UK were to ask for an extension and if that were granted, then according to the rules of the treaty, yes a commissioner would have to be appointed and then yes, that person would receive a portfolio.’
Ms von der Leyen ( pictured yesterday in Brussels) said: ‘If the UK were to ask for an extension and if that were granted, then according to the rules of the treaty, yes a commissioner would have to be appointed’
It would be another blow to the Prime Minister’s (pictured yesterday in London) plan for a swift and decisive break with Brussels
One senior European politician joked that the role should be given to outgoing Commons Speaker John Bercow.
Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt tweeted: ‘John Bercow is a driven speaker and gifted orator but above all the keeper of the great British parliamentary tradition.
‘I would love if we could welcome him in the European Commission or European Parliament.’
He followed the remark with a winking emoji.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said today that there was still every chance for Britain’s divorce from the European Union to take place with a deal although Berlin is prepared for a disorderly Brexit in case that does not happen.
Mr Johnson’s stated aim is to persuade the EU to give him a new deal at a summit on October 17 and 18.
Parliament has passed a law compelling him to ask Brussels to delay the departure until 2020 unless he can strike a deal but Johnson has said he will not request an extension.
‘We still have every chance of getting an orderly (Brexit) and the German government will do everything it can to make that possible – right up to the last day. But I also say we are prepared for a disorderly Brexit,’ Mrs Merkel told the Bundestag.
‘But the fact remains that after the withdrawal of Britain, we have an economic competitor at our door, even if we want to keep close economic, foreign and security co-operation and friendly relations,’ Merkel added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Bundestag today (pictured) that there was still every chance for Britain’s divorce from the European Union to take place with a deal
The remaining 27 EU members must unite and strengthen the project, she said.
‘On the one hand, as Europeans we are weaker with Britain’s exit – that has to be said – but on the other hand, this is the moment to develop new strengths,’ Merkel told lawmakers.
She welcomed the new direction given to the EU by Ursula von der Leyen, the incoming chief of the EU executive, and said the bloc must stand up for multilateralism.
‘No country in the world can solve its problems alone and if we all work against each other we will not win,’ Merkel said. ‘I believe in win-win situations, if we work together.’
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